Earlier this month, we had our 9-year anniversary.
During those nine years, I've watched other couples -I've watched how they communicated, how they made decisions, how they interacted. I was often struck with how brave other wives were... they would buy things without asking their husbands first, make decisions on their own, even go so far as to lay down rules about what they were or were not comfortable with (like violent video games). They offered up advice that was heard. They could listen to advice and still think for themselves. They were equals in their marriage... a concept that had eluded our marriage.
I wanted that. I wanted it badly.
And as I got into recovery and started to see just how much damage had been done by addiction, I began grieving.
Those grieving days were awful days in our home. The children ate a lot of cold cereal, and I shed a lot of tears.
I moved into acceptance, and I was relieved to feel that my grieving was -for the most part -over.
But guess what?
I skipped a step.
In the process of observing other couples, I saw one very fascinating trend: the couples I admired the most were upfront with each other -they weren't afraid of reactions or repercussions. They were honest with each other outright. They got MAD at each other.
I just couldn't DO that. I couldn't get mad at my husband. I couldn't! I was too scared. I wasn't strong enough to handle his reaction. Instead of getting upset with him or at him, I'd walk away and shove the anger down until I couldn't feel it anymore and then I would go and talk things over with him.
Quick question: what happens when you shove emotions down? Anyone?
Yeah. They rise up and wail later on. And they're usually worse than they were when you first shoved them.
Since I snagged up a sponsor and a therapist, my recovery has had some really awesome direction. It's GOING places. One of the biggest blessings from it all is that fear and shame are being stripped away.
As fear and shame have stripped away, I've started getting angry. I'm not scared of my husband anymore. I'm MAD at him.
I accept where our relationship is at, but I'm mad about it.
I'm angry because I'm still grieving a healthy relationship. I feel cheated, and I feel short-changed. I feel all of these rotten emotions that I felt earlier in my recovery.
When I first felt them, I denied them, ignored them, felt sad about them, wept bitter tears...
And now I'm mad about them.
I think it's wonderful.
I'm finally strong enough to be honest about my every emotion.
I finally feel safe enough to say what I'm thinking when I'm thinking it.
I'm finally -for the first time in NINE years -being TRUE TO MYSELF.
And if that means trudging through a trench of anger, I'll do it.
It's worth it.
There's nothing more rewarding than the freedom that comes from being true to myself.