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Lessons from the rear view

Lessons book

If you’ve been around here for long you might remember one of my very early blog posts back in 2017 that was about Gaslighting. In that blog post, I mentioned that I’d never heard the term before until I started reading posts by @StillLearning2b on Twitter otherwise known as Lisa Arends. She’s a fellow Texan, a divorce survivor and a writer…sounds familiar. She’s also stubborn, tenacious and driven like a beast.

I knew a little of Lisa’s story and what she’d been through in her first marriage and it sounded a little bit familiar. We’d both been victims of betrayal and financial fraud at the hands of our shady husbands but she’s also been the one to blow the whistle on her soon to be ex husband as a bigamist. She took no prisoners and gave little eff’s when it came to getting whatever justice she could get out of the situation – which unfortunately wasn’t much.

Well Miss Lisa Arends wrote a book called Lessons From The End Of A Marriage. I had the great privilege of being loaned this book from a dear friend and I pretty immediately tucked into it.

Y’all! A year ago I wouldn’t have been able to read this book. Her story is so much like mine.

  • Her husband had been lying to her for years (check)
  • Her husband had sunk into alcoholism and self medication (check)
  • Her husband had been lying about the household money flow (check)
  • Her husband was lying and misrepresenting himself with his employer (check)
  • Her husband lied about and did shady tax things (check)
  • Her husband was living a double life that she never got the answers about (check)
  • Her husband went on the run and seemingly disappeared (check)
  • Her husband was incapable of telling the truth even when confronted with all his wrong-doing (check)
  • Her husband so damaged her trust muscle that she feared it was perma-broken (check)
  • Her family and friends stepped up and were her saving grace when it all came tumbling down (check)
  • Her anger took over her ever waking moment, kept her from sleeping, eating, thinking (check)
  • Her husband was never forced to answer for his crimes and it felt like a slap in the face (check, check, check!!)
  • She discovered new things about herself, things she loved and cultivated within herself those first years after the divorce and it helped her fall in love with herself and create her own happiness without relying on another person for any of it (Thank God, check)

This book was like reading a side by side version of my own story but with a few plot twists and turns along the way. The majority of the book is about her grit and determination in working with law enforcement and the legal system, getting justice, coming to terms with being betrayed by her Ride or Die and trying everything to make sure his feet were held to the fire. When it seemed he was about to get what he deserved he was given an undeserved break and was basically let off with a slap on the hand. Recently I was given information that sounds like my thieving ex husband will meet the same lucky fate and skate through his felonious wrong-doings. Quick side bar: why are shady people always so slippery when it comes to getting what they deserve?

I tore through this book in a matter of just a few weeks and finished it just a few minutes before sitting down to write this post. Reading this book was both cathartic and validating. It is also hopeful and encouraging that I will be able to trust again and that a fulfilling relationship is possible after such betrayal and heart break. I’m not there yet, but I like knowing that it’s okay to be hopeful about the possibility.

This morning while paroozing my social media, a video popped up in a memory from three years ago, it was of my ex-husband and I leaving the gym on one of our pre-dawn workouts. It had become our thing but there was a dullness to our interaction. I realize now looking back that it was the beginning of the end, just three months after that video was posted I would kick him out and begin the divorce process. The lies had begun to catch up with him and I was in the process of pulling my head out of the sand where I’d firmly sunk it and I was being forced to see my ex-husband as the shady liar he was. Just three months later….my life would implode. The reason for my writing about it is to tell you it didn’t hurt. Looking at his face, hearing his voice, remembering that time in our lives no longer caused my heart to ache, didn’t cause my brain to flood with memories of our marriage. It was a time in my life when I was a completely different person.

There is a line in Lisa’s book that I tweeted earlier. It’s a line from page 305.

“I began to see my divorce as a gift. A gift I never asked for, and one I never wanted, but since it came with a “no return policy”, I was determined to make the best of it.”

I tweeted Lisa and told her this was the truth for me too. Did it suck going through? Absolutely! Do I look back at it as a gift and one of the best things that ever happened to me? Surprisingly, yes. I have learned more about myself in these last three years than I could have within that marriage. I’ve been on a voyage of self discovery and I’ve had many adventures and learned where my own personal limits are. I learned how independence is sexy, how I alone am responsible for my own happiness and that no one else can adore me quite as well or as much as I adore myself. I have grown, I’ve healed, I’ve persevered and I really love this woman standing before you. She’s kind of a bad ass.

If you’re a fan of this blog and you’ve been betrayed, hoodwinked, horns-waggled or any other euphemism for being kicked in the heart-nuts by someone who was supposed to love you, I can’t recommend this book enough. If you’re on Twitter, you should follow Lisa at @Stilllearning2b and maybe even follow me at @singleanselfish while you’re at it.

In other news, I’m back to work full time – just three weeks after full hip replacement. (See? Total Bad Ass over here!) I’m still doing physical therapy but off the cane completely and back to walking, wearing a low heel and one step closer to getting my dance card ready to fill up. I still have a little ways to go before I compete in that cart-wheel competition but I’m getting there.

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