Continued from Why Do I Still Continue to Struggle

January 2, 2019

 

I stand once again staring out the window watching an airplane push back. This time, it’s not my wife that’s leaving. This time, it’s not me remembering when my sister used to leave.

 

This time, I’m watching my daughter leave.

 

I feel numb. I feel like a soggy towel that someone has just wrung out.

 

I’m tired with lack of sleep. And in my weakness the Knight of Shame swings his sword. I barely have time to ward him off as I weakly lift my shield. I’m knocked to the ground.

 

Why are you feeling this way?

 

Come on Phoenix! You have so much to be grateful for.

 

Really, you’re going to wallow in this tornado of sadness once again?

 

I reread a text Rafiki had sent me a couple of days earlier.

 

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

 

“What is your season?” Rafiki texts.

 

“Love that song!” I text back. “Although, I think I need to listen to it with a different perspective now.”

 

“Oh yeah! I forgot that was made into a song. Smart, don’t have to pay lyricist royalties.” I laugh. Rafiki IS practically human.

 

As I reread my text, I realized I wasn’t allowing myself the grace of living in the present. I wasn’t allowing myself to acknowledge my pain. I wasn’t allowing myself to grieve the loss of my marriage.

 

It has taken all my tools to keep me out of the pain and shame spiral that threatens to pull me under. I realize I have one more day off. One more day to process before I have to go back to class. One more day to get my head on straight so I can get back into the books.

 

One more day where I need to reach out to both the real Rafiki and the one in my mind, for support and for guidance.

 

 

Processing With the Help of Rafiki

 

“Rafiki, I’m struggling today.”

 

“Of course, you’re struggling. This is the year you finalize your divorce.”

 

Boy, he doesn’t wait to get right to the point.

 

“I know, but…”

 

“Phoenix,” Rafiki cuts me off, “This is has been planned for months. There are no buts.”

 

I feel a slight rise of anger. He doesn’t have a clue how things have changed between my wife and I these past couple of weeks. We haven’t talked much.

 

Remembering his training, I take a deep breath. I allow the anger to move through me. I take a moment to respond.

 

“You’re correct. I allowed myself to fall into the trap of hoping once again.”

 

“Do not think that hope is a trap. Hope is your desire. It’s what you wish for. It gives purpose and guidance. It gives direction.”

 

“Uh, that’s not the message I gleamed from you before.” I can feel myself getting argumentative.

 

“There is hope and there is denial. You may hope for something, but when you already know the outcome, you keep yourself in denial.”

 

Oh, now I’m getting pissed. “What do you mean already know the outcome?”

 

“You continue to live in fantasy Phoenix.”

 

“I disagree,” I argue back. “These past few weeks were different.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yes, they were,” I stammer.

 

“How so?”

 

“There were discussions about me coming home. My wife has been making an effort to reach out to me. We have been communicating every day. I can feel the change in her energy. She feels as happy and connected as I do.”

 

“Are you sure about that?”

 

What is he doing? Ok, time to turn this puppy around.

 

“I have no idea what you are getting at Rafiki. Can you please explain what it is I’m missing?”

 

“Were you truly connecting or were you repeating the classic patterns the two of you continue to go through?”

 

I stop a moment. I had just been thinking about our patterns. I mean I had talked about them to my wife on Christmas day.

 

Rafiki asks, “What is it that you want, Phoenix? What is your ultimate desire?”

 

“I want my family.”

 

“You have your family.”

 

“Well, yeah. Sort of.”

 

“Did your wife send your daughter to spend New Year’s Eve with you? Did the four of you have a beautiful Christmas? Do the two of you co-parent well together?”

 

“Yes, but…”

 

He cuts me off again, “When have you not had your two girls or your wife in your life?”

 

Silence. I’ve always had them in my life.

 

“Phoenix, you have a family. It’s just not the definition of the ‘family’ you’d like to have.”

 

This is true. In the past month I’ve heard countless stories of my fellow coworkers who’ve had horrendous divorces and don’t have anywhere near the connection I have with my daughters. Each parent puts the other down in front of their children and forces their children to take sides.

 

“But my wife says she misses having a companion, a partner, someone to share her life with.” I’m trying to find anything to support my assumptions.

 

“Doesn’t everyone want someone to share their life with? Just because she desires companionship, does not mean she misses it with you. Phoenix, she has told you numerous times that she does not choose you.”

 

“We want the same things in life.” I continue.

 

“Wanting the same things in life doesn’t make compatible partners.”

 

“She’s the one I want to travel with, the one I want to see the world with.”

 

“Didn’t you tell me you have over 20 possible traveling partners from your previous job? I’m sure you can find many who’d love to see the world with you.” A slight pause and Rafiki continues, “What about your girls? Show them what the world has to offer.”

 

“It’s not the same.” I’m groping at straws.

 

“Phoenix, I understand. You want someone you love to share new adventures with you and you feel obligated to uphold that dream with your wife. Here’s the question you need to ask yourself.” Rafiki’s voice gets compassionate. “If you had finalized your divorce three years ago, where would you be now? Who could you have been traveling the world with?” His voice rises in volume, “You’re holding yourself back, Phoenix. You continue to do that because you wait for her. You need to stop waiting. You need to start LIVING!”

 

He emphasizes that last word. His comment jars me. It’s what others have been lecturing me about for years. When are you going to stop waiting for her and start living your life?

 

“Phoenix, I’ve been telling you this time and time again,” Rafiki’s voice is once again soft and caring. I know what he’s going to say.

 

“You need to hold boundaries with your wife. You need to keep it co-parenting only.” It’s not a lecture, it comes out more as a plea. A plea that I will finally listen so I stop hurting myself.

 

As usual, I resist his plea. “I feel as if that’s manipulative. As if I’m giving her an ultimatum. You know, either be all in or all out.”

 

“That is not manipulative.”

 

“I disagree.” I feel as if I’m stomping my foot like a spoiled child.

 

“Listen to me Phoenix.” Now his voice sounds like he’s ready to give me the lecture. My body tenses. “If you do not have the emotional stability to keep interactions between you and your wife as a friendship only, you are not making an ultimatum, you are establishing a boundary.”

 

“It feels selfish and weak,” I whisper.

 

“Look at the patterns Phoenix. I have seen it. Others have seen it. You let go of you wife. You eventually allow yourself to tap into your inner strength. You stand tall and strong. Eventually your pattern allows yourself to think you can maintain a friendship with your wife. You crave her connection. She, in turn, follows her similar pattern of being drawn back in and sometimes, the pattern is, that she pulls you in. You want more, she becomes more vulnerable. Her trauma becomes activated and she pulls away. She throws up her walls and you crash back down once again.”

 

I nod. He’s right. That is what we continue to do. Over and over and over again.

 

“You can’t continue in the pattern. You are hurting you. You are hurting your girls. You continue to hurt her.”

 

“How so?” I’m starting to feel overwhelmed emotionally.

 

“Holding a boundary protects yourself from getting hurt again. Holding a boundary protects you from hurting your wife. Holding a boundary protects you from hurting your girls.”

 

“Wait. How is that I continue to hurt my wife and girls?”

 

“You allow her to become drawn to you. Both of you know she does not want that. Both of you know that she will eventually disengage again. Seriously, Phoenix, do you think she likes it when you hurt?”

 

I know the answer to that. I just refuse to participate at the moment.

 

“Your wife loves you. If she didn’t love you, she would not do all she does to keep you and your daughters connected. She keeps the family connected. When you hurt, she hurts. The last thing in the world your wife wants is to be the cause of your pain.” He lets me sit with that one a minute. I’m quiet.

 

“By holding boundaries, you are protecting your wife from being drawn to you and then shutting you out. You are protecting both you and your wife from that pain. And in turn, you are protecting your girls from the emotional roller coaster your wife and you keep putting them through. They continue to absorb that energy and confusion.”

 

“It all comes down to once again being my fault,” I sigh. Maybe calling Rafiki was not such a great idea after all.

 

“You hold a lot of the blame in your marriage. Phoenix, this is one area that you really need to change.”

 

“What do you mean?” I’m worn out and I really don’t want to listen to this anymore.

 

“I need you to listen to me for a minute.” Once again, it’s like he can read my mind. “Do I have your full attention?”

 

“Yes,” I mutter, withdrawn and solemn.

 

An incredible amount of silence follows. I wait. And I wait. I start to fidget. I get uncomfortable.

 

“Ah, Rafiki, you still there?” I ask.

 

“Yep. Do I have your attention?”

 

Sneaky little monkey! I’m more attentive now.

 

“You’ve got it now,” I grin. “Please continue.”

 

“You need to stop blaming yourself for your divorce. You have taken on that role for too many years now. You come into a marriage as partners. 50/50. Each of you contributing to that marriage together. You hold a lot of excuses for your wife.”

 

“I was the one that cheated,” I stammer, not realizing that once again I’m quick to defend her actions.

 

“You did. And that did not help alleviate the patterns that were already there. Your cheating has given her a scapegoat, an out, so she doesn’t have to hold any responsibility of her part in the death of your marriage.”

 

“I don’t know if I completely agree with that one. I created the trauma in her life.”

 

“Yes, you did create trauma in her life. We all create trauma. It’s not what creates the trauma, it’s how one deals with the trauma. Let me ask you a few questions.”

 

“Ok?” I’m hesitant, fearing where this is going.

 

“How long have you been in recovery?”

 

“Over eight years.”

 

“How much work have you done on yourself in recovery?”

 

“Seriously, you want me to quantify all that work? Shoot I have no idea where to even start.”

 

“Phoenix, you have never stopped working on you. I have never seen anyone put the amount of time to self-improvement that you have. You still make time for you on a daily basis. Even with all the training this past month, you still find time for your outer circle activities. You continue to ground yourself. You continue to search on how to be better. I keep telling you to stop trying to fix you and to start living life.”

 

“I don’t know where you’re going with this, but go on,” I respond, trying not to sound irritated. He’s preaching to the choir you know!

 

“In addition to the work you’ve done on you, you watch the people around you and are quick to support others when they too are struggling. You don’t restrict your 12-step spreading the message of healing and growth to only your twelve step groups. You reach out to everyone, becoming a light of hope that others need so they too can heal.”

 

“What does this have to do with my wife?” I question.

 

No answer. “In recovery, did you learn about your trauma?”

 

What kind of question is that? Duh! “Yes,” I respond.

 

“Where did that trauma come from?”

 

“Well a lot of it was due to my family and my peers growing up.”

 

“Elaborate”

 

I sigh. He knows this, but ok, I’ll humor him. “My mother did not know how to nurture me, both physically and emotionally. My mom and dad divorced when I was three. I ended up taking care of my mom to help her through the divorce until she met my step-father when I was six. While they were dating and after they were married, her emotional energy went towards him, not towards me.” I pause a moment. “Oh, that brings up some pain and shame.”

 

“What’s the thought behind the emotion?”

 

“That I haven’t been there for my girls because I’ve been so focused on my marriage. Just like my mother did. How much damage have I done to them because I’ve been emotionally distant to them when all my energy has been focused on my wife?”

 

“Through awareness, there is change” Rafiki quotes his famous line. “I’ve been trying to tell you that for a couple of years now Phoenix. Maybe now you’ll finally get it. Yes, you have focused more on your marriage than being a father. Your girls are still young enough for you to right that wrong. And your new job will provide you with the schedule to get that part right. Ok, continue with your trauma.”

 

I’m trying hard not to feel as if I’m under attack.

 

“My step-father was the son of an abusive alcoholic. Through the numerous times he watched his father leave and his mother take him back, he had to watch his father verbally and physically abuse her. One time she was left bloody on the floor. He never talked about his childhood, but it was known that he had to grow up early, become a provider for his family in his early teens, and he took the brunt of his father’s abuses to protect his siblings.”

 

“What a horrific way to grow up.” Rafiki acknowledges, reminding me to understand the trauma my step-father dealt with growing up. “Continue.”

 

“My biological father was the 2nd youngest of 16 to 21 children. Depends on who’s telling the story. He had two failed marriages and a third one that lasted until he passed 15 years ago. Each failed marriage he disappeared for many years.”

 

“How hard it is to be seen, to be loved, nurtured, and validated when you are the youngest of so many siblings. I imagine he must have felt incredible loss, shame, and pain when his marriages ended. It’s hard to find an identity when one is being compared to the others before him. Continue.”

 

“My grandmother used shame to control her children. Anything that any one of them did was looked upon as trying to make my grandmother look bad. She was so worried about what everyone else thought about her, that she was never truly able to be nurturing and supportive to my Mom and uncles. Kids were not seen as grownups no matter what their age.”

 

“Well that explains why your mother had no skills to nurture you. Continue.”

 

“My grandfather was very intelligent, successful, and playful, clown-like. However, he came from the generation where the providers were male and women stayed in the home. My mother wanted to become a hygienist but was discouraged from pursuing that route in college because if a woman was not in the home, she could only be a secretary. My mom ran the front desk of a variety of dental offices and all her life she pursued validation and support from her parents and brothers.”

 

“I can see how you ended up carrying her burden. I can’t imagine the shame that must have come from your grandparents when your mother made the decision to divorce your father. She exhibited a true strength of character to be able to do that during that time period. I make up that your grandparents didn’t make that decision easy for her.”

 

“Wow, I never thought about that. I’m sure it was looked poorly upon since they were Catholic.”

 

“Your Mom placed a big sin for your Grandmother to emotionally deal with. Lots of trauma in your family of origin. Anything else growing up?”

 

“Hmmm. My step-sister was angry at her father. She stopped coming around our family. The only time my parents really would do anything was when she would come over. They walked on egg shells around her and I felt as if I was the one who always took the blame for anything that we did wrong. When she was a teen, she made the decision not to deal with her father’s anger and stopped coming to visit.”

 

“Interesting,” Rafiki ponders

 

“What?”

 

“You grew up learning to take the blame for anything that happened. It is but another one of your patterns.”

 

“Ok. If you say so.” I have no idea where he’s taking me on this. I’m getting more annoyed.

 

“Also, I can see how your sister was angry. Most teenagers are angry when they’re trying to express their autonomy.”

 

“Oh, that is so true,” I quickly agree, thinking about my oldest.

 

“How often did you say she visited?”

 

“I don’t know. It was like once a month or once every couple of weeks.”

 

“And didn’t you mention she was put on an airplane?”

 

“Yeah, she always flew down.”

 

“So, your parents never went to see her?”

 

“I never thought of that. No, not that I can remember.”

 

“Knowing how most families are, did your parents ever compare you to your sister?”

 

“Well, I was the one that got good grades, and she was the popular, pretty girl who was good at sports. I think there may have been pressure put on her to succeed in school like I did.”

 

“So, your sister’s father left her mother, remarried, had this new family, and she was expected to fly every other weekend to see him, become a part of a family that doesn’t feel like hers, being compared to her “new” brother, expected to accept a new mother as her own mom, manage a father who had anger issues, and provide reassurance to a younger sibling who was clingy and annoying? Talk about putting a lot of pressure on a young child.”

 

“When you put it that way, I can see why she didn’t want to come and visit any longer. She also had told me when her father died that she had worried about my well-being. She said that she had a choice to disengage from the controlling, anger issues her father had, but I was stuck in that environment.”

 

“You understand both your step-sister and your step-father’s personal demons. Now didn’t you say your step-father adopted you for legal reasons?”

 

“Yeah, it was so that if anything happened to me, I wouldn’t be placed in foster care. You know, I was just journaling about that. I realized that a legal adoption never healed the void I felt from being deserted from my father.”

 

“Nor does a legal marriage document heal one from the void feel from betrayal.” Ouch! That stung!

 

“Ok, that was as a low blow Rafiki. You were saying that I didn’t have to burden all the blame and yet you just pointed out that I was to blame.”

 

“Phoenix, I’m not pointing out blame. I want you to see facts. I want you to see trauma. You are habitually focused on blame. I want you to take that word out of your vocabulary for a minute. Anything else?”

 

“At school I was the runt kid who was always picked on. The one who was so emotional that I was an easy target for all the kids. I think that’s about it. My childhood trauma that is.”

 

It’s weird. I’m guarded and argumentative, and yet, I don’t have the feelings of drowning like I used to have when I discussed my childhood trauma.

 

“Phoenix that is an incredible amount of trauma you dealt with growing up. You used your addiction to protect you from the pain you felt all those years. Eventually, your addiction ended up feeding more internal trauma. You hurt the ones you love, and you put yourself in a shame/guilt cycle that plagued you most of your life. Add the trauma of losing your three primary care givers and your grandparents in a 7-year span, the trauma of disclosure, the trauma of learning how to give up what used to serve you, and the trauma that you and your wife continue to recreate still to this day.”

 

“I don’t see your point Rafiki.” I already know all this. We’ve gone over it ad nauseam.

 

“Do you blame your parents or your grandparents?”

 

“No. I mean, I did. I was angry at my parents for quite some time. But, that was how they learned to cope with their own issues. That was the generation. I mean, with my family, it would have been nice to have closure. With them all gone, I won’t ever get that. I don’t blame them. I understand them.”

 

“Do you blame your sister?”

 

“No. I have love for my sister.”

 

“Do you blame the kids that beat you up.”

 

“I don’t even think about them.”

 

“Do you blame yourself for how you were treated as a child?”

 

“What? No.” Angry I bring the conversation back to where it had started. “I don’t see where you’re going with this Rafiki. What does this have to do with my wife? I don’t believe my wife still blames me for what happened in our marriage. She acknowledges she has work to do on herself. But that’s different.”

 

“Is it?” He asks.

 

“Yes, it was me who caused the trauma and she who needs to recover from it due to my actions.”

 

“You are protecting her Phoenix.”

 

“I disagree,” I continue to argue.

 

“Phoenix, and this is only my opinion, if your wife did not still hold resentment, she’d be willing to work on herself with you, as a couple. She knows the amount of work you’ve done to change yourself. She sees the changes. I see the changes! You are nowhere near the person you were. And your wife knows that you would do anything to support her in her recovery.

 

He continues, “You have mentioned that she holds people at arm’s length. What you do not see is that she also holds you at arm’s length. She allows you to get closer than the other people in her life, but when you get too close, that’s when she throws up her walls. Phoenix, those walls have always been there. Yes, you may have caused her to reinforce them. You may have added additional layers of security to protect herself, but there are childhood wounds that she has yet to heal from. You both had childhood wounding that bound you two together. You are NOT to fully blame for the divorce!”‘

 

My mind starts whirling. I think of how those walls have always been there. How they went up and she compartmentalized when I left for my trips. How I used to complain about the ebb and flow of her emotions. How, in my body, I could physically tell when she pulled away from me. I remember once telling her I wanted to rip those walls down and her response has always been that those bricks she put up were to protect herself from me.

 

I think about all the times I tried to connect, but she was unable or unwilling to. I hear her excuses. I hear her reasons why. It has always been because of what I did. And I have accepted that as truth.

 

I see how my desire to be home was not due to my career choice, but due to the walls she put up when I was gone. It was as if, deep down, I knew that if I wasn’t home every night, she would emotionally be gone from me. And even when I was home, she still would find ways to emotionally shut me out. She was too tired. She put all her energy into our girls, leaving nothing left for our marriage. And when I wanted to make plans with her, she kept her options open, jumping at something else if it came up.

 

I realize I’ve been quiet for a while and Rafiki has allowed me time to process all he’s said.

 

“I still don’t fully agree. She still feels trauma from my actions on a physical level. Actions that go back almost 18 years.”

 

“Phoenix, if you look at the statistics, 75% of partners of sex addicts stay in the relationship. They make the decision to heal not only the addiction and the trauma, but their marriage as well. It takes both of them to be willing to do the work. Your wife is unwilling to allow herself to be that vulnerable to you.”

 

“But the trauma…”

 

“We can never stop our trauma reactions. They just happen. It’s becoming aware that they will happen and learning how to manage them when they do that’s important. What I want you to see is how far you’ve come in your healing and personal growth. I want you to remember where you were and where you are currently at. Didn’t you tell me you spent part of Christmas day with your wife’s male friend?”

 

“Yes. It was a very nice couple of hours.”

 

“Did you feel the similar trauma reactions you used to have around him?”

 

“No, none at all.”

 

“Wait!” I start to lose it. “That has nothing to do with the divorce being her fault!”

 

Rafiki’s voice stays low, “You continue to protect her, Phoenix. Your wife could have ended the marriage at any time. You said she knew when she mailed the invitations for your wedding that she had made a mistake. That was fifteen years ago.”

 

His voice starts to rise. “Your wife had the option to divorce when you disclosed your addiction to her over ten years ago. It took two years for you to even get into recovery and when you came out after thirteen weeks, you said she wanted to divorce you at that time but the therapists told her to give it a year. It took another three years for her to ask for separation, another year after that to ask for divorce, and that still has sat in limbo. She could have taken the steps to finalize your divorce at any time in the past three years and yet she has not done so. She has allowed the patterns that the two of you continue to recreate, bringing you in all the while knowing you still hold onto hope. She has not followed through with her requests which has continued to cause you confusion.”

 

Rafiki takes a breath. “There is no blame. What I want you to understand is that your divorce is not all you.”  He emphasizes the last three words. “You need to stop shouldering it all and give her the grace and opportunity to accept her part in it also.” Rafiki’s voice gets serious, “You must remember, this is not your job to point that out. Your wife has to figure it out on her own.” It softens once again, “Phoenix, for your sanity, you need to give up that which you couldn’t control. You taking all the blame only tears you apart.”

 

I hear Rafiki breathing hard. He rarely gets agitated and I can feel strong energy flowing from him.

 

“I do hear you Rafiki. I really do. But I also know how trauma works.” I don’t think I’ve argued with Rafiki as much as I’m arguing with him now.  “PTSD sneaks up on us at the most inappropriate times. I watched the trauma reaction take a hold of my wife. I observed the pain she felt with my touch. She was quick to express her reaction and I acknowledged it not knowing how to support her. I don’t even think she knew how to support herself through that onslaught of pain.”

 

“You know, her expressing that immediately when it occurred is an incredible gift of growth. She has come a long way. That’s something to be grateful for.”

 

“Exactly! But..”

 

“Phoenix, listen again,” Rafiki interrupts. He speaks each word slowly, “Your. Wife. Told. You. Immediately.” He lets that settle in for a second, “She did not pull away and tell you a few hours later. She did not lash out passive aggressively. She did not manage it on her own and two days later come back to you as if nothing ever happened. That’s an amazing step in understanding what her body is telling her and acknowledging it to you.”

 

Holy cow! That is an amazing step in growth I had missed.

 

I feel worn out once again. Not as much arguing, but trying to support my belief I groan, “But those reactions were due to my past actions. I know you keep saying don’t take the blame, but I caused that.”

 

“Phoenix, you can take on the blame for her trauma. Not all, some. Much of what she has experienced is her recreating to her childhood trauma. That’s what we all do. What I want you to see is that you can’t take the blame for the divorce. The dissolution of your marriage takes two. She is half to blame.”

 

I hunch over. I think I’m starting to finally see what he’s telling me. “I can take responsibility for the trauma I created, but I need to share the burden of the dissolution of our marriage. I need to stop blaming the divorce on myself. Why didn’t you just say that in the first place?

 

“Exactly!” I can picture Rafiki jumping in the air as the synapses in my brain start to connect. “You needed to separate the two yourself. There’s the trauma piece and there’s the marriage piece. You are allowing yourself to use the trauma to assume blame over the fallout of your marriage. Has your wife ever explained to you that there are things she needs to work on and asked if you would be willing to work with her to help her heal?”

 

“No.”

 

“Have you and your wife, together, gone and seen a trauma specialist to help her find techniques so that together you both can learn how to navigate her trauma triggers?”

 

“No.”

 

“Would you be willing to do that if she asked?”

 

“You know the answer to that one. Of course I would. I would do whatever it takes to help her heal.”

 

“This is my point. You made some very poor decisions in the past. Those actions damaged your wife. And yet, you have done everything you could to help her heal from your actions. How many men have gone to the lengths you have gone to not only salvage your marriage, but help their wives heal from their indiscretions?”

 

I’m quiet.

 

Rafiki continues, “One can grow and change. As I said, and once again, this is only my belief, but until your wife can forgive you for your past mistakes, admit her part in the disillusion of your marriage, and learn to manage the trauma from both her childhood and your betrayal, the two of you will continue to recreate your destructive patterns. She has a loving and willing partner who desires healing between the two of you, but she does not wish to heal with you together. You cannot continue to take full responsibility for your divorce.” Boy this has been a long session. “How long have you been married?”

 

He knows the answer to this. “Fifteen years.”

 

“Phoenix, you have given over half of your marriage to recovery. You have stayed true to your vows, true to yourself, and true to the woman you love. There are not many who can claim that kind of integrity when they’ve been living apart for two and a half years. There are not many who can claim that kind of integrity when they’ve battled the demons that plagued both you and your wife’s past. It’s time. It’s time you take the high road and hold boundaries, not as an ultimatum, but to protect you and your wife from continuing to hurt one another. If you don’t, both of you will continue to recreate your traumas. Neither of you will heal. Both of you will continue on your perpetual roller coaster. It’s time to get off the ride, Phoenix. It’s time to take the next leap of faith. The world is at your fingertips.”

 

I’m speechless. Once again, he has allowed me to see things from a different point of view. He has brought me peace in my craziness.

 

Lost in my thoughts, Rafiki startles me as he speaks once again. “I need you to do me a favor.”

 

“OK.” Here he goes with his assignments!

 

“You stopped five weeks ago with your Grateful Sundays. I know you’ve been extremely busy and I know you have a lot on your plate. I need you to go back and finish off the year. Write what you were grateful for the last few weeks. Then, I want you to reread your blogs from 2018. There’s a theme there that I want you to see. It’s something you need to see.” Rafiki emphasizes that last statement. “Once again, you NEED to see this theme. You keep accepting your divorce then go right back to hoping it won’t happen. That has been your pattern last year. You need to see that your wife has never changed her mind.

 

Do not place value on what could have become. Be thankful for what you were able to achieve.

 

It sounds as if Rafiki is taking a sip of tea. “Be thankful for the connection you did have with your wife. Three years ago, both of you were drinking the poison of anger and resentment. This Christmas, the two of you drank the gift of love and connection. Cherish that memory. Don’t taint it with your pain.

 

“As you learn to hold boundaries, remember, you are doing this to honor your wife and cherish her wishes. You are doing it to protect yourself and your wife from harm. You are doing it to protect your girls from carried negative emotions.

 

Do not place value on what could have become. Be thankful for what you were able to achieve. Click To Tweet

 

“Finally, I want you to read through all your Grateful Sunday posts for both 2017 and 2018. I want you to see how far you’ve come and how much you’ve got to be thankful for in the upcoming year.

 

“I know this year will be hard. Divorce is never easy. Just like your tattoo, it’s something that you need to complete. Trust that God has got your back. No pun intended” I laugh at the reference of where my tattoo lies. “Trust in your recovery. Trust that there is something beautiful on the other side. You won’t know what that is until it’s finished.

 

“Let go and Let God!

 

“The darkest nights produce the brightest stars.”

 

The darkest nights produce the brightest stars. Click To Tweet

 

 

Struggling is a Choice

As I head off to bed, I realize I do have much to be grateful for. I feel my body come back down to ground. I feel peace start to come back to me.

 

“It is not the impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent, when they are not.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

To everything there is a season…

 

What season is yours?

 

 

 

Turn Turn Turn

~ The Byrds

 

We can either sit in our pain, or grow from it.

 

A friend recently asked me, “Do you want to continue to stay in the fire and be burned, or are you going to fly?”

 

We must Rise From the Ashes, so we can Soar With the Eagles.

 

Together We Can Heal

 

 

 

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