Clinging to the memories?

In my post on erasing memories, I said that I wouldn’t want to do that, even if there were a magic way to just wipe them out of my memory altogether.  When I told my counselor this, he said that it would be a long, tough road if I never put the memories of those emails away in storage in my mind.  He asked me why I was clinging so tightly?

That angered me at first.  I didn’t think I was clinging to them.  They just wouldn’t go away.  But then I started thinking about what I had said about erasing those memories.  Maybe it WAS me that wouldn’t let go of them.  Hmmm….

If that is the case, why am I not letting it go?  I think I know.  I’m trying not to get hurt again.  My dad drilled into my head that if you learn from history, you will not repeat its mistakes.  “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  And stuff like that.  I am doomed to repeat my mistakes if I don’t learn from them.  How can I learn from them if I forget about them?  I have already forgiven my husband to a degree.  I am no longer angry – at least most of the time – there might be some trigger that would set me off, but most of the time I am not angry.  I do not want revenge.  I take no pleasure in his discomfort over the whole thing.  But those memories help me to always be watchful and to never again release my heart entirely into his care.

I generally forgive far too easily.  He would do something really mean or disrespectful and I would forget to stay mad to force him to acknowledge and apologize.  And he would get away with stuff over and over again.  He got away with his first betrayal with no consequence at all.  I didn’t know the depth of the betrayal, but I knew he had crossed the line by sitting in the same chair with that girl way back when.  But I forgave immediately and completely.  Not this time.  Can I move on while still holding on?  I have to think about that.

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9 thoughts on “Clinging to the memories?

  1. You can get to a place where the effect of the memories is different for you. As long as you are working toward healing and getting there with your husband, then you are on the right track for this. You don’t need to forget because it is important to learn…but you can disengage from the turmoil that they cause.
    I know you can do this.

  2. Not Over It says:

    That makes sense. I don’t want to forget. My husband denies that he has anything to work on. According to him, it’s me that has all the issues. This being the case, it does not make sense for me to put any memories “in storage.” I need my memories as lessons of what to be on the lookout for.

    I was so blindly trusting before. The signs were all there and I didn’t recognize them. Never again.

    I suppose disengaging will come with time. Anything to hasten the process?

  3. I think hastening will come when our husband can get to a place (where he maybe has forgiven himself) that he can acknowledge your pain in this. Right now I think the guilt of it all keeps him wanting to see his own self image as being “ok”.

    The funny thing about trust is that in order to trust…you need to trust. Trust with “reservations” is a hard road. It always makes people feel like they are being scrutinized.

    Hastening may also come when you can recognize that this had more to do with your husband than with you. But…and here is a big thing, no decisions are made in a vacuum. You did play some role in this…(no definitley not blaming you here for anything). There was something missing for him. It may be only his perception too…but something for him was missing. That needs to be addressed somewhere…with therapy and 3rd party help. It also needs to be found if his perception was accurate…and this could simply be a communication disconnect.

    But…no matter what. YOU ARE NOT to blame for this. If triggers come that upset you, that is part of the healing and he needs to learn to be supportive too rather than letting the guilt make him feel like you are keeping him over the fire for this. To be objective…some betrayed spouses will hold it like a sword against the cheating spouse. It does not sound like you are one of them.

  4. Not Over It says:

    Shucks – the mind was awhirl – LOL!

    Thank you, LFBA. I appreciate your taking the time to help me out.

  5. aaroncrj says:

    Hi DJ:

    Hope your 2012 is off to a good start. Lots of good things and a few challenges for me this holiday season, but I am really glad to put 2011 behind me. Like you I am struggling with what to do with the emails and facebook messages I have. I find myself going back to them less and less, but feel that they are an important reminder to me of what happened and how “asleep at the wheel” I was.

    Further, as my wife and I are working through building our own relationship, the emails are a tool I have to help defend against blameshifting. I’ve readily admitted my own contributions to the state of our relationship, but no matter what was wrong in our marriage, it wasn’t right for her to pour her heart out to this other man and to become so emotionally dependent on him for nearly six years. They also help to thwart her denial about the thickness of the fog she was in during the EA. So, while I can’t say I will hold on to all of them, nor do I think I will want them forever, At less than six months post D-day, I am not even close to being ready to rid myself of them. On the other hand, I hope through counseling and work on our relationship that I will be able to think of them less and less often until I think of them no more.

    Thanks to both you and LFBA for your inspiration and words of encouragement.

    Aaron

  6. Not Over It says:

    Aaron!

    Glad to hear from you! I was wondering how you were doing, how the ski trip went and all that.

    Yes, I think LFBA is absolutely right that it’s not necessary to forget, and you and I are both at that place where that would not even be advisable.

    Thank you for your kind words. We are all here to share and help one another. It’s so good to know we are not alone and that we can bounce ideas off one another.

    DJ

  7. Caroline says:

    Yes or Exs have to sort out the turmoil in their own minds. As we have to sort out ours. Our pasts are what makes us. The inner conflict is the tough part.

    And having some good goals for the future helps!

  8. Not Over It says:

    Thank you, Caroline. Absolutely – our pasts are what makes us. Walking wounded, maybe, but hopefully wiser and more grounded as we heal.

    I have had only one real goal since my D-day: to complete the journey upon which I have been forced to embark. My journey is to discover whether or not I can still live with a man who betrayed me. A man who stated that he had actually loved her the whole time (she was his first love), and that he regretted the life path he had chosen with me. He no longer says those things, of course, but can I live with that past? I still vacillate.

    I guess I do have some other goals, and they do help me to move forward with healing from the pain. I think I should pay more attention to them. Hmmm, you’ve got me thinking. Thank you again!

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