Sharing “Which Direction is Good for You? Head that way. . .” by Elle at Betrayed Wives’ Club

For some time now, I’ve felt all cried-out, perhaps a bit hardened in some ways. I don’t know. But, when I read this from Elle over at Betrayed Wives’ Club, it brought a tear to my eye because it really touched me and I thought it might also touch some of you. TL xx

Which Direction is Good for You? Head that way…

“I did what anyone who’s ever had to rebuild their life has to do – very slowly, one step at a time, find a way to walk back in the direction that’s going to be good for you. That isn’t about your sorrow and your suffering but is about your strength and your light. And it’s about healing your wounds instead of circling around them neverendingly.”
– Cheryl Strayed, Dear Sugar Radio, “The Wounded Child Within”

I ask your forgiveness of me and of what might seem like my relentless insistence that you will heal from this. So often your comments read like my own thoughts in the early days post-betrayal, when I was absolutely certain I would never ever feel anything but agony again. When I might accept that the day would come when I could function but I simply could not accept that this shattered mess where my heart used to be would once again be whole. And so I recognize your agony as my own. I remember as well my inability to recognize my strength, so crippled did I feel by my husband’s infidelity. Your insistence that I’m wrong, that you simply can’t heal from this, sounds so familiar.

And I’m guilty, I know, of sometimes forgetting the sharp edges of that pain. And so I respond, perhaps unfeelingly, offering up platitudes that healing will come, insisting that whether he introduced his OW to his friends is immaterial and that whether they slept together twice or two hundred times hardly matters. He cheated. That’s what matters. It’s, really, all you need to know.

Except this. You need to know this also even if it makes you want to punch me in the face: Your healing is possible. No matter how devastating his betrayal. No matter the depths of his depravity. You can heal from this. It will take a whole lot longer than any of us ever imagined it would. It will be really really hard. But, as the two Sugars on Dear Sugar radio told “Wounded Child Within”, healing is always possible when we shift our gaze from what happened to what we will do about what happened. Or, as Strayed puts it, when we walk back in a direction that’s going to be good for us.

Strayed is talking about her own self-destructive choices in the wake of her mother’s death. Wracked by grief, she numbed herself with sex, with drugs, with aimlessness. Her choices felt like no choice at all. No matter which direction she went, her mother was dead. There was no changing that.

Which is a big part of what trips us up, I think. Our choices don’t include a good one. Instead, we’re given the choice between shitty and shittier. We can stay and keep our children’s world relatively intact and not have to tell our dying mother that her son-in-law is a snake and cross our fingers that our “I’ll-never-do-this-to-you-again” husband is speaking the truth. Or we can leave a marriage that seems irreparable and unhealthy, model resilience and fortitude to our heartbroken children, and cross our fingers that we can survive every second Christmas by volunteering at the food bank. I used to wail to my husband that my only choices were to sacrifice my happiness or my children’s. Shitty. And shittier.

But a funny thing happened when I gave up on happiness. Once I’d resolved that I’d never again ever feel joy but decided that I would at least fight for feeling less horrible, I began to experience slivers of, let’s call them, hope. In my pursuit of less horrible, I stopped focussing on my husband and all the ways in which he’d ruined my life and turned instead to what I could do to rebuild it. I still had no idea whether this rebuilding would incorporate my husband or not. I was leaning heavily toward not but was waiting until I felt less emotionally fragile before springing that news on my blissfully ignorant children. And so I shored up myself.

With long walks alongside my beloved dogs. With meditation. With an intention to notice those slivers of hope and stockpile them. I was, to again borrow Strayed’s metaphor, walking in the direction of what was good for me. I was intentionally shifting my gaze from what my husband had done to what I was going to do with that. I had felt my sorrow and suffering – and I think it’s crucial to feel your sorrow and suffering. You don’t get to skip that step – but I was ready to recast it as strength and light.

I know it’s not easy. It will probably be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. But it will save your life. It will ensure that the life you save is full and rich. There are no guarantees that you will be spared further pain. In fact, I can assure you there will be more heartache, in one form or another, to come. But that heartache will happen to a different you. One that is able to walk in the direction of strength and light. One that can feel her sorrow and suffering without letting it define her. And one that is more compassionate and more open-hearted for having suffered. One that savours every drop of joy that life offers, and I promise you, joy will come.
Source: Which Direction is Good for You? Head that way…


16 thoughts on “Sharing “Which Direction is Good for You? Head that way. . .” by Elle at Betrayed Wives’ Club

    1. I’m lurking too… Haven posted in eons.. A few replies and lots of reading.
      I just feel so stuck in a hole, heaping full of reeking shit. But I have a shovel, I just don’t feel like using it … The shit to u shovel is overwhelming and daunting.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I lurked for months before posting initially, then thought I had a lot to say, and felt better for a bit. Now I’m drowning under the shit again. I feel like I can’t find my way out, or yeah, to use your analogy, that I do have a shovel, but that I didn’t ever think I would have to use it for this and frankly, I just don’t want to. There is so much shit to get out from under and I don’t know where to begin or if I will be able to tell a difference at the end anyway, or the pain of the shoveling will be what kills me. Stupid affairs.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I appreciate hearing from you both! Lurk as much as you want, but please do feel free to say your piece, share your thoughts, or whatever is helpful to you. Now that the past of our story is down here for all to see, we would love to know what you would like hear more of, less of, etc. . .

          Ah the shit. . .Today, I must admit has been a rough one for shit. One of the things I asked of MC after the shit hit the fan was, were there any gifts given or received? He told me about everything, including that his first AP had given him a homemade origami swan (so about 17 years ago now). He thought he had thrown it away. Today, I was looking through some old files trying to find an old password for an account we rarely use. I passed by an old college memorabilia file and decided to take a look in it, guess what I found in that file. . .the origami swan. In addition there was a message on its folded wing – “empathy helps.”

          It was a very rough morning for me, especially because MC is out of town right now. In the past, I would have crawled back into bed and cried the rest of the day away. Today, I had errands to run. So, I got myself together. I went shopping. I treated myself to lunch and a coffee, and I’m ok (not great, but ok).

          What is the moral of that story? I haven’t a fucking clue.


  1. I’m so glad I checked in on what was up over at Betrayed Wives’ Club and saw this post. Elle’s message was beautiful, compassionate and meaningful and so needing to be shared! If you haven’t already, I highly recommend other betrayed spouses check out her site.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. As a cheater — ex-cheater — I was also moved by this post. I do hope other cheaters read this. It helps with empathy. It’s heartbreaking.

    As I see TL gradually finding hopeful slivers, I count my blessings. I never counted my blessings before D-day. That’s part of why I thought nothing was ever good enough.

    On that stupid origami swan I had meant to destroy, it feels like TL was maimed by a long-forgotten land mine, years after the war ended. My heart sank when I learned that thing still existed. It was unexploded ordnance.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. RAC, how does your husband respond when you tell him or show him you are struggling with a trigger? Does he just walk away? If I may be so bold, if I were to just walk away, change the subject or pretend like nothing was happening, TL would clearly communicate that it is not an acceptable response. I could then continue to avoid or ask myself if allowing TL’s anger and resentment to build was really worth it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. RAC, I just wanted to say that it can go the other way too.

          It got to a point with MC and me where he could just see it in my eyes. I would be trying to practice the “I am going to enjoy this moment, I don’t need to think about this right now” mantra that I learned from Shawn and MC would be all over me asking “are you ok?” “let’s talk?” “let’s stop and take the time to talk through it.” The problem was that sometimes I was actually trying to let the pain go for a moment or two and MC”s response made that more difficult for me. So, as I do, I “clearly communicated” with MC to give me space. 😉

          We came to a point finally, where he might just give me a soft caress on the arm or some small gesture to let me know that he sees I’m struggling and talk to him if I want to do so. It took us some time to find the right balance. Still, in the long run, I know that the more I need to talk about something and cannot, the more it festers, grows and becomes this hideous ever-growing troll trying to pull me down into the pit of despair. Ok, maybe a little melodramatic, but, really, if I don’t talk about it when I need to, it will eat me up inside, fester and grow. I suspect, but don’t know for sure, that it is a similar situation for many BS. And that is not good for moving forward for anybody.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Here in lies the root problem MC and TL… I just don’t anymore.

          We really aren’t in recovery. We went from dday and then hellish few months that followed “discovery phase” where he was minimally accountable and mostly indignant and defensive. To reconciled by his standard.. His attitude is “I know everything now,” and only time will heal me. Back in August I finally bought into his plan of just time… So f’ing tired of trying to get him to see the hell I was in… We were having a conversation about helping me heal. He difinitavely said that I needed time, and that he wasn’t going to change. Doesn’t feel he needs to. He’s a great husband.. Just made a mistake… Blah blah..

          Walls are up..

          And he doesn’t see the triggers.. I’m guessing it’s a choice blindness…

          I’ve seen the “rolled eyes look” enough to feel like he believes it’s been long enough..

          Time does lots of things.. It’s giving me a much clearer vision of this man I married..

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh Rac, I wish I could reach out and give you a hug. You are a strong woman. I read the letters between you and his AP, as well as a bit of your history as an AF nurse. My goodness woman, you are both strong and compassionate. I have great admiration for how you handled finding out more.

            I am a strong believer that the only way to break down the walls is for him to not have any secrets between you. He doesn’t get to decide when it is enough, if he wants to save the marriage, you do. But, convincing him of that is like repeatedly hitting your head against the wall, I can see that.

            What are you going to do? What do you want to do? Have you talked to an attorney, just to know your options, just to have a plan in place if you decide this isn’t going to work any more? Cheating isn’t a mistake, it is a horrible choice. Unfortunately, the only person’s choices we can control are our own. Whatever you decide is the best course forward for you, know I’m thinking of you and here if you ever just want to chat. TL xx

            Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m getting my emotional house cleaned up. I’m my own worst…

    But “what am I going to do?” I ask myself constantly.

    I still don’t have an answer…

    Thanks for the support ❤️ Sometimes, I truly question my sanity..truly…I’ve been reading on and considering Narsosistic personalities. Not convinced my husband is one, but he has a number of traits.. and I’m a empath thru and thru..

    And be careful what you offer.. Just conmmented on someone’s blog yesterday that I wish there was a real time chat feature!

    I don’t know that if ever shut up!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would just say that no matter his diagnosis or proclivities, do what you have to do to be safe, to be healthy. I think Elle’s blog post speaks so well to that. I know, so much easier said than done. It’s nice to have a support network out there!

      These free WordPress sites don’t give a lot of options. Sometimes I think about trying to add in a chat function. Our oldest is a regular computer guru, but this is one site I cannot ask for help with from him! But, I’m here. Feel free to e-mail me too! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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