This Fourth of July holiday was bittersweet.
My husband and I received some shocking news about a married couple we have grown fairly close with. They are going through some issues with their marriage, that I really hope they figure out how to deal with…they have sweet beautiful children in the mix and due largely in part to bad choices, many people’s lives will be affected no matter the outcome.
My husband and I talked and agreed that their struggle opens up some old wounds from our past. We didn’t go into any details; that statement seemed to sum up what we were both feeling. While listening to our friend describe the events that took place, I felt my heart bleeding for the situation they are in. I have been there. Many of us have been there. Many of us have been in situations that ultimately leave us feeling nothing but regret. Many of us have felt that pain of ultimate betrayal. Looking back on my past in particular, I see myself asking that same simple question “Why?” over and over again.
After everything that I do for you, everything that I have done, WHY did you do this to me? HOW could you do this to me? WHAT makes you think that I deserve to be treated this way? WHO on earth would take you back after such betrayal? What did I do to you to make you think that this was a good idea? Did you think I wouldn’t find out? That I am too stupid to figure it out? That this would just go away? Or that you could continue to live a double life and get play me for a fool? Or did you figure that if I did find out that I am too broken to stand up for myself and put my foot down? That I am too damaged and can’t fathom an existence without you in it?
However easy it may be to say “If anyone ever cheated on me, there is no question, I would leave…” it’s not that easy. I chose to stay. I chose to forgive. I have also apparently chosen not to forget. The recent events of our friends has reminded me that I haven’t forgotten and probably never will. It will always be floating around in the back of my brain, visiting me in my dreams, where I see the broken me asking “Why?” over and over again and again. I still feel the pain.
Does that mean that forgiveness has truly happened? For some of us, forgiveness is a journey that could take a day or ten years. Forgiveness means letting it all go, giving it up to the universe to disperse with as it chooses. Letting go is the hardest part. Years later, I still find myself having dreams of the betrayal, waking feeling angry and hurt that I could be held in such disregard from someone to whom I’d given so much…
And I decided that it was time to let go. I made the conscious choice to forgive but my subconscious didn’t get the memo. After my last meeting with my spiritual gal, she asked me if I had been remembering any of my dreams from which I immediately barfed out my most recent haunting dream.
I was at some business event, it felt like I was at work but I didn’t recognize the building. It felt more like I was in someone’s house (which I have come to learn that when dreaming of being in a “house” this actually represents your mind and the different rooms of the house are where certain memories are stored, compartmentalized). There was supposed to be a meeting and we were to sit at this big long table. My husband was with me but he kept saying that it would be best if we didn’t sit next to each other during the meeting and even better if we acted like we didn’t know each other because there was this woman there who would be really upset if she found out about me. I couldn’t see this person’s face, but deep down, I knew who she was. So, I’m sitting at this long table while the meeting is taking place and my husband is sitting at this other table against the wall and across from him is this woman and she just stares at me, expressionless and unblinking. I don’t stare back because she makes me really uncomfortable and my husband doesn’t make eye contact with me. I try to focus on the meeting but I can’t make any sense of the words being spoken and I look around the table to see who all is there and no one has a face. They are like silhouettes. I just sat there feeling very alone even though I was surrounded by people and feeling that familiar feeling of betrayal.
The next thing I remember in my dream is walking into another room of the house and finding my daughter asleep on a bed. I went to her and woke her as I would normally do with whispers and a nuzzle on her neck. When she came to everything seemed normal but I wanted her to get up because I wanted to leave the place we were at. She told me that she wanted to stay and keep sleeping but that she would come home later. This is when I start with a dialogue with myself back and forth in my brain about whether or not to leave her there. This reminded me of the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other trying to help you make a decision. I was arguing with myself about whether or not let her stay there.
“She can drive home, she’ll be fine”
“She can’t drive home! She’s only 8 years old!!!”
“She can reach the pedals and see over the dash, she will be just fine.”
“What if she gets pulled over? It’s like a two hour drive home!!!”
“She won’t get pulled over, she’ll be just fine.”
“What if she gets caught? What if I get caught?”
This is the point where I woke myself up. The feelings I felt upon waking were horrendous. I felt shame, I felt the deepest sadness, hurt like my heart was pumping on the floor in front of me, disgust with myself and everyone around me, like I needed to cry a lifetime’s worth of tears in the next five minutes. Instead, I went and made myself a pot of coffee and let that dream chip away at me for two weeks before I saw my spiritual gal again.
I think I have determined the identities of these silhouettes in my dream…Recently, there was a big to-do at my mom-in-law’s house involving people who I had heard more stories that I care to count but had never actually met before but felt like I knew them inside and out based on all of the stories I’d been told. If I were to cross paths with them on the street tomorrow, I wouldn’t recognize them, hence the lack of faces in my dream. They were all sitting around this table going over paperwork in preparation to sell their house and split up. Tensions were very high, blah blah blah, and there was this one woman there, who once again, I had only heard stories about before, but she stared at me, a lot. She made me uncomfortable. She had been (or still is…I’m not sure and don’t care to find out) best friends with my husband’s ex-girlfriend. She had even lived with them at one point. I was so focused on portraying this strong confident image of myself that I didn’t realize the anxiety over this encounter. I was afraid that by her staring at me, she was memorizing every action I made, every freckle on my face, so as to report back to my husband’s ex. I was afraid this meeting was going to open up a can of worms and that bad people from our past were going to resurface. SO SCARED!!!! So, I’m not sure if the woman in my dream was her or my husband’s ex viewing me through the tales of her friend.
It was at this session with her that I realized that I had told myself that I had forgiven, but I hadn’t done the hardest part yet. I hadn’t let go…I think I had been clinging to this idea that “Everyone goes away eventually, it’s only a matter of time”. I hadn’t let my guard down fully. I still had a half wall built up around my body to protect against whatever was coming next. I was spending my life waiting for the other shoe to drop. Who wants to live like that???
I realized that because I chose to forgive, I can’t continue this life punishing myself or those in my life who made bad choices. I realized too that my next step in this journey is to make peace with the fear of abandonment.
Dreams are amazing…