My marriage was abusive, filled with addiction and lies. When I left, I was pregnant. Within three months of the last useless attempt at reconciliation, I was so stressed that our son was delivered early. He was born with Down syndrome. During the four months he was in the hospital, I filed for separation. I now have sole physical and legal custody of my son and have been divorced for a year. My son is such a blessing, although it is difficult to see the characteristics of Down syndrome. I was laid off work, have filed for bankruptcy and walked away from my home. Through counseling and the support of women at church, I am working on not hating my son’s dad. For the most part, I am at peace. But I don’t want to date and don’t care about love. How can I trust again?
Trust by living this wisdom from Siddhartha Buddha: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” When you permit your mind to yank you back into the back or hurtle you into the future, it’s self-abuse. Here’s why: The past, in your opinion, was full of mistakes that you fear repeating; the future is full of unknowns that you don’t have the power to control. That’s Halloween-scary, huh? But if you are connected to the simplicity of a moment, you retain the awareness of the part of yourself that you describe as “at peace.” That inner space nurtures consciousness of the truth: You are growing in your ability to care for yourself and your son. When you admit the truth to yourself about who you are, you begin to trust yourself. When you trust yourself you can trust others, too.
But right now, you don’t trust men, right? Well, there is power in exclusion, but it’s negative. When you cut men out, you maintain the illusion of being in control. Comprende? When your husband, because of his abuse and addiction, excluded you from real intimacy with him, he held power over you in the relationship. After enduring that emotional chaos, you probably fear making more bad choices in romance. Quiet those concerns by admitting your dishonesty. Maybe you noticed his abusiveness when you were dating but thought that it would wash away through marriage. Or maybe you suspected that he was lying to you early in the relationship but did not confront him because you were afraid he would leave or get angry. Every time you take a step away from honesty, trust erodes.
So let’s face this lie: You don’t want to date and don’t care about love? If that were the case, you would not be asking for instruction on how to trust again, right? I believe that real love is waiting for you. Can you be honest enough to welcome it?
My marriage is falling apart. When I talk to friends about it, they say something like, “Oh, that’s because you like to be in control.” How can I get a handle on my control issues with my wife?
“If you maintain a position of total independence and self-reliance, you rule out any chance of making a loving connection,” wrote Howard Halpern, therapist and author. It’s a paradox of love. You must be emotionally healthy enough to experience yourself as separate, whole and authentic. But you must also be emotionally strong enough to be open to emotional, mental, physical and spiritual intimacy with your wife. At times, you will be hurt, disappointed and feel like a failure. But feelings are transient, so don’t fear them. Instead, commit each day to revealing more of yourself to your wife and to one male friend. Eventually, you will learn what love is.