Grief and Processing

I tweeted the other day about how I was struggling to process the last 8 years and everything that happened within them. The desperate need for closure on that chapter of my life, but the overwhelming fear of what happens next.

When you’re busy fighting, mentally rather than physically in my case, you don’t have time to process. I didn’t allow myself time. It is becoming very clear to me now, that this was some what of a faux pas. The past is very much catching me up and I don’t know how to process it, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, when we were still married, we didn’t properly address the issues when they first arose. We did what I expect a number of couples do, had a bit of a chat, and it was never spoken of again. Well that is, until it raised its ugly head for the second, third or fourth time. The more it happened, the more I realised that we should have dealt with it better the first time. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Secondly, on that weekend in March 2019 when I realised that I didn’t have a home anymore, I went into overdrive. The following day was the start of a 10 day Crown Court trial and I had a 15 year old victim to look after. I needed to speak to my then husband about what the hell was going on, I apparently needed to pack and move out, and I never gave myself time to actually deal with it. I was protecting myself probably, from a combination of what I didn’t want to hear, what he didn’t want to tell me, and the fact that I didn’t want to admit that it was the end of my marriage.

Nobody goes into a marriage with the expectation of a divorce. You go into a marriage with somebody that you love, somebody that makes you laugh until your tummy hurts, somebody who you fully expect to spend the rest of your life with. You are a team. I couldn’t believe, or I wouldn’t admit to myself, that somehow over a matter of days, I had lost all of that. I had no idea who I was, or what to do. So I kept busy. It was easier.

Less than a month later, I was moved out. I changed my car so he didn’t know what I drove, he didn’t know where I lived, and I was safe. I kept telling myself “it will be okay now, you’re safe”. But that’s hilarious, it wasn’t okay, I had just left behind the last six years of my life, what on earth do I do next? I remember my first night in my flat and an overwhelming feeling of “and now what?”.

If you ask any of my friends, they will tell you that I am atrocious at talking about what is in my head. Maybe that’s what made me start this blog. I don’t talk, I am really, really bad at bottling it all up. Quite the opposite of the advice I would give should the tables turn. However, this has now put me in a really difficult position, where because I didn’t talk about things as they were happening, people have no idea that they happened. I cannot bring myself to sit across from some of my best friends now, a year and a half after I moved out, and say “oh well he hit me a few times” or “he drove off in my car one night and didn’t bring it back for hours” or “he left the house drunk after an argument and I didn’t know if he was coming back”. How do you even start those conversations? As far as everyone new, the violence was against things – punched walls, smashed photo frames, torn up wedding photographs, furniture being launched, but never directly at me.

I just got on with it, I had to. I do sit here sometimes and wonder how differently I would have dealt with things if I didn’t have that trial. I do actually believe that it was that which got me through, I had a victim to look after, I had to be there for him, I couldn’t not be. If I didn’t have that, I probably would have broken. Maybe that would have been easier than breaking so far down the line now.

As things are drawing to a close, there is less fighting. Less Solicitors (which my bank is oh so thankful for!). Less “and what the hell is my next move”. No more mediation, and as of today, my old house is on the market. With the lack of fighting, comes a lot more quiet time in my head. I have spent a year and a half fighting with somebody I used to love, arguing over finances, his refusal to sell the house, his want for inheritance, pension squabbles, everything we could have fought about, we fought about.

I’m going to need to find myself a hobby now that I’m about to have all of this spare time on my hands. I don’t know what I did before! But with this comes too much time in my own head. I have thinking time, processing time. Things happen now which throw me back a few years and leave me feeling really quite unsettled.

I was at my friend’s house the other week and he did something which made me flinch. There was no getting away from that, it wasn’t exactly an action I could style out as something else. That was the first time I had ever admitted to somebody else that there had been more to the failings of my relationship than I had spoken about before. It was really hard to talk about, because when you say something out loud, there is no taking it back. But part of me is glad that he knows, that I have somebody there. I guess sometimes when you’re forced into a situation it is easier than trying to volunteer information.

That was the first time that I realised how much I actually have to deal with. How much I had supressed which was now coming to the surface. How terrified I am of being hurt again, and how I had absolutely no idea how to start dealing with it going forwards. Where do you start? Is there a beginning? Do you just deal with the bits that make you cry, when you cry, and go from there? Total minefield.

It was explained to me like grief. Grieving for everything I had which is now lost. The husband I had, the person I was, the home we had made together. It’s true when they say that grief slaps you in the face when you least expect it, and I think that’s what is happening now.

Where on earth to start…I can’t talk about it yet, so maybe writing about it is the way forward.

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