Episode 18: Why is There Pain When the Trial is Over
There is pain and exhaustion after the work is done and the major part of the trial is over. We discuss why this happens and how to navigate to healing
Today is going to be a little bit different. Because I'm going to share with you some things that are really personal to me and what has gone on in one of my counseling sessions. I'm going to do that because we really need to talk about the pain that comes after we make the hard decisions; the despair, the loneliness that comes when we have to do something really hard in my case, divorce, and how I felt after the fact. The reason we need to talk about this is because we sometimes feel that once we're done with the trial, we should be okay. Or we should feel okay, or we should be free now or happy now; whatever our trial is.
We think we did our work, why are we still suffering? And there's this fine line between healing and suffering and how we find the balance and also how we move forward so that after the hard thing, and we've come down, and we are in this place of peace, because the trial is over, what do we do now with some of these feelings that we're having? And I'm wanting you to know that you are not alone in feeling this way. I felt at times, like, I should be so grateful. I should feel so good right now.
There's nothing I should be feeling that I'm worried about anymore now that this is over. But that just wasn't the case. I found myself in a counseling session, just shortly after my divorce was final. We filed in August of 2015. And it was final in January of 16. So shortly after that, I was in a counseling session so low. I was feeling like, I was so empty, and I didn't even know why or how to process all of it. So as we were talking, I was sharing with Ryan, my counselor, that it was as if something left me. It was as if I was no longer the same, which I wasn't. But more like things had been removed from me. Like I was empty in a way that was different and I felt super uncomfortable.
He asked me, he said, Well, who or what is this that you're talking about that is no longer there, that was part of you? And I said, it's love? And he said, Okay, well, we're gonna do something. And he handed me a yellow notepad paper, those legal sides, notepad papers, and he wrote the word me, which stood for me. And he said, okay, just write a couple things of what you would be saying to love. And so I'm going to read to you our conversation of what we had. Now what he did was he handed it to me, I said something that he took the paper back, and he wrote the word love. And it's this conversation between me and love.
I was playing the part of me, and he was playing the part of love. And I think you'll be able to hear the transition, in my words when I'm talking versus when he's answering. So I'm going to read that for you right now. I'm sure you're going to hear the papers kind of crinkle as I flip the pages, but I wanted you to really understand what this was. So if you're feeling this way, you know, I have to! You are so not alone in the heartbreak and the heart ache of navigating through trial. So here we go. So he sends it to me. And I said, I wrote, where did you go? You left? Why did you leave me? Why did you die?
Now we're to him. I haven't gone anywhere. And I'm not dead. I'm still here within and around you. But you are too focused on the shadow of what I once was. I only know what you once were, I don't know how to find the new you. You are mad at me. And I don't know how to fix that. I'm interested to know how you've experienced me that you feel I am mad at you. Are you willing to let go of what I once was? No, that's the only way I know you, the fighter, the faithful, the obedient, you're gone. You left. I can't find me and I can't try to I need you to find me.
I am with you. Now, this very moment. I've never lost you and don't need to search for you. I am still all those traits and more. You also possess these traits and you're using them as we speak but against us. We used to be a team we fought together and we died anyway and because of that I stopped trusting you and I died too. Our team never was dismissed or terminated, I did not die. Just transformed. Your ex your dad, who are we talking about that died? My ex, he died. I sacrificed you and I tried to save another. I thought that was right. I thought I should I thought God would want me to give everything to help another.
I went too far. I held on too long. I let saving him get in the way of my own well being and yours. Because of that I am no longer who I once was, I am empty. I don't know me and I don't know you anymore. I am nothing. I lost. It feels over. I feel over. What does over mean? I failed. Failed What? I failed me. I failed my ex. I failed God. What I'm hearing is that you had a mandate to save your husband yourself and get both of you to please God and you failed. Am I on the right track? Kind of. If I had done it right or good enough, it wouldn't have turned out like this.
Somewhere I didn't get the right memo. What is the right way to love, to give, to sacrifice, to save? Who is in possession of the balance of measuring tool that says what is right or enough? How I want you to see that God is pleased with what you and I have become. And it was only possible because of what we gave. I don't know how God measures. We did do a lot. We did do great. But it wasn't accepted. If it was then he my ex has uses of agency would have been tied to him and our efforts would have been tied to us. But we still are paying for the decisions of him.
If mine was accepted, mine would be rewarded. I see reward with full peace. And he no longer is part of me or this equation. Yet here I am, a disaster. I'm going to stop for just a second at this point our session was over. He gave me my papers and he had me finished this with homework. And he said he wanted me to now play both parts me and love. And I thought well, this will be interesting. I have no idea if I can even do this. But it was fascinating how, as I talked with myself this way with this part of me that felt lost or gone; in this case love, that I was able to uncover that other side of the conversation. So I ended with yet here I am a disaster. It's now loves turn.
That's not how I see it. I watched as you prayed and commune with God. He told you hard things. And you and I worked hard to accept what was asked and then carry it out. Yes, there's still pain. But that's because you went all in. It seems that if I did what was asked and went all in and follow with obedience, actually I followed with strict obedience, then even though my marriage is over, I wouldn't feel over. I don't know what or who I am. I feel like a shell again. A shell? Really? That's pretty empty. What feels empty? My heart, my light, my love my depth. my innermost soul feels empty, barren, deserted. I've seen you share your light with others, lots of others. You can't give what you don't have.
Is it possible that all the light and love and peace is all there, but you are still mourning the loss of what has been lost? That you just haven't figured out how to let the light into the pain, into the empty space that used to hold your life, into that place that was meant for your plan, what you expect it to happen? Yes, that's possible. That place was held for and meant for my marriage for him for recovery together. I do see I have lots of peace in many ways; light and knowledge that I didn't have before. And love, love for myself, for doing the hard things, love for God for making himself known to me, love for those helping me push forward.
So can you let that love into that sacred place of pain that you hold empty? Not yet. That feels... I feel anger with that. I need both. My pain is real. My sadness is real. What happened is worse than I ever thought. Covering it with light and love feels like I'm not giving it what it deserves. Like I'm dismissing it like I'm telling myself to get over it or that I'm not deserving to be able to feel the depths of the pain of it. I'm not ready to not hurt or feel sad by it. I hate what happened. I hate how it felt when my heart fell to the floor and shattered over and over and over. How can I heal from that?
You are a spirit. You don't know the utter devastation of how this was. I am still in shock that he did this that he treated me so callous and like I am nothing. I'm sorry he hurt you. I'm sorry that he didn't place value on you personally or your marriage. I'm sorry he broke everything that he shouldn't have. I'm sorry he wasn't able to show you love care and concern. I'm sorry he lied to you and broke his promises. I'm sorry that he doesn't know what he gave up. I'm sorry that addiction became more important than what is real. I'm sorry, he walked away from you and his kids. I'm sorry that he didn't choose himself and therefore couldn't choose you. You know, who does choose you? God? He chooses you every single time, every single time.
Do you believe that? Yes and No, I have felt the saving power. I have witnessed miracles. I've felt his love. I don't understand when the end of it came, and he, my ex walked out, and I felt the literal release from heaven. And I thanked God loud, and so much gratitude for being saved and for feeling the release. And I had extreme peace. So I don't get why it all still stays the pain? And it's not at that point, all taken from me. This after part, when there's nothing left to fight for, or fight through, when the marriage is over, the fight is finished, I benn given a job well done assurance, yet the pain remains. And there comes a different type of despair and pain. That feels mean.
If it's a job well done, than done is the key word I hear. It is done. All is well. And it's not done. It doesn't feel done. So that was such a powerful experience, because I was able to process through the pain and maybe you are feeling the same way. Maybe you are connected to this conversation letter that I wrote, and feeling like I get that I feel in those same situations, or maybe you have felt in those situations. What I have to tell you, after feeling those things, after writing all of that out, I was able to work on talking through the pain, actually identifying what those painful things were because a lot of them came up in the letter. And then I was able to work on them and let them go.
What that did is it gave me space inside my heart, and inside whatever that painful spot was to start filling it up with the peace in the light. And as I did that, I was able to take it all in. I was able to heal my relationship with God in the parts where I thought he was supposed to save me in a different way. He did save me in a way where I learned and gained so much he did. I just didn't know how to let him into the pain and let it go. It's hard to let it go. You heard in my letter, how I talked about the importance of me feeling the pain and not disregarding it; not just acting as if it's okay or I'm over it now because I wasn't over it. And it was not okay. And what he did and how he treated me was terrible.
The day that he left, I served divorce papers. He was in my home, we were separated at that time. I was watching my daughter's tennis match. And I put the papers on his desk. When we got home he was gone. He left without saying goodbye. And at this point, the kids were used to having them in their lives every single day. So he left and I sat with my children and talked to them about how it is time. And it's time for us to move forward. It's time for us to live a healthy life and learn what it means to get through this pain and become better on the other side. With that came lots of challenges, a lot of heartache many tears, I sat in my kids beds as we processed through; as we cried together, as they talked about their fears, their anger, their frustrations, their misunderstandings.
At on point, one of them was talking about how if she could just be with him more often he would see; he would know how great she is. That broke my heart because she is great. She's great whether he was seeing her or not. That went on for the first year, almost a year and a half where he was not really in their lives. He kind of went on his own path. And he showed up here and there on the doorstep for Christmas handing him a gift. They met up with him for a couple dinners. And that was it. It was a hard year yet also such a relief and so much peace.
We had some friends of ours some church, leaders come to our home after he left, and they gave each one of us blessings. And after they left one of my children said, Did you feel that? Did you feel what it felt like to have those people in our home? We didn't even know the goodness that we were missing. When we were together as a family and addiction and not recovery was happening. We didn't realize it was just this slow, steady process of this is just what our home felt like. But the minute we had goodness there, the minute they received these blessings from God telling them that they are going to be okay and giving them specific things to think about and remember, the entire energy of our home changed.
It was beautiful. It was amazing. And even that first night, we sat together on the couch and then we laid on the floor. We put our heads together because my kids said hey you know who we need to talk to about this? You know who we need to tell? Do you know who we need to show that we're going to be okay? Grandma, my mom, we laid on the floor, put our heads together, took a picture, and we set it to grandma. They said, We just want you to know, we know you love us. And we want you to know that this just happened. Pretty amazing to have truth, right there. Truth in those moments in the hard moments talking about it.
So why after the fact, after the truth is there, there's a relief, I woke up the next morning, so relieved, I woke up the next five months, stressed because I was waiting for divorce and what was going to happen, but also so grateful, I was no longer navigating our relationship. It felt completely different. So how come it gets harder before it gets better? Think about a time in your life where you started something. Maybe it was college, maybe you had finals, maybe you were starting a new job, maybe were opening a new company, maybe you were starting an entire new career that you've never done before. Maybe you were having a child or just had a baby, maybe now you have multiple children. And life is crazy. Think about how in some of those really busy times you woke up every morning with Okay, what is on my plate today?
What do I need to do? How do I need to do this? And you started trying to tackle these tasks that were ahead of you. In my situation every day I woke up with all right, I would gear up and I would have this ready to fight mentality. We're going to do this. And we're going to fight for this. And I'm going to get this and I'm going to make it work. And I'm going to save us all. So I pray and ask Heavenly Father, what am I doing today? And how am I going to do it? How am I going to navigate? The entire day was filled with how do I make it through? And what am I supposed to be doing?
I would go to sleep at night with a ball of anxiety in my stomach. I would wake up with the same ball of anxiety. I was in a battle. A few years of battle actually. I was doing this day in and day out. So when I finally came down, and everything was done, and there was relief, and there was some sense of calm, and I was finally starting to come out of the fog in the clear and be able to see what life really looked like how beautiful the scenery was; the colors were so much brighter, so much more vivid than I had remembered. And that's because I was looking up and out. I wasn't looking in and trying to figure out how to navigate.
As I came out of those moments, as I was coming into the clear where anxiety became less and less, is when I was able to have my own sense of pain. I was in pain before but this was personal in a way that I was done with the fight the battle was over and now I'm feeling the consequences of all of that pain and realizing what I actually was in what I had actually been trying to navigate through. And it was a lot. This is where they talk about PTSD. Betrayal trauma has the same effects as people who go to war and come back. Our system has been shocked so much, that after the fact you're now dealing with a lot of these painful things, and still there's trauma.
Maybe not the same triggers is what I had when I was living with him and trying to discern between addictive behaviors, but the emotional side of what I had been through was now showing up. A lot of the work that I was doing when I was with him was survival. Methods to survive, methods to make it, methods for one more discussion, one more boundary, one more counseling session. One more reason to be going to group going to my 12 step, all of it. So many processes and programs in place just to survive just to get me through. So now I'm through it. I've done it. Now I kept going to my support groups after he left. I needed those.
I still needed to heal me and even more so because all these new things were coming up and I was so shocked at how much pain I was in and how much emotion and emptiness I was feeling. Just like when I read that letter. You heard all of it. You heard what I was feeling. You heard what I was thinking. So now was the time for me to be able to personally do this work that would mend my broken heart. I remember talking to my counselor about my heart. I couldn't even imagine In mending it. I couldn't imagine taking all these shattered pieces, because I can look into my soul and into my heart and I could see this heart that's just shattered everywhere. And I couldn't imagine putting it back together, and then allowing it to do more work.
So what we talked about is, as we heal, those pieces do come together. And of course, as we all have seen, those beautiful pictures of plates being smashed and sealed together with the gold, beautiful because broken pieces can mend. And usually we have learned and grown and become so much more that the broken pieces actually have more depth and more beauty. But in this situation for me, I can imagine that And I did want it to heal and get put back together. But my counselor said, What if you also imagine and make yourself a new heart? You can be healing the one but also make another one. Maybe make another heart that's whole that feels good that you start adding in love into that heart.
That was profound for me. That was super helpful. That's what I chose to do. And so I imagine this healthy living, beating heart that was whole and nurtured and loved already, because I just made it. And I had that one to hold on to with God, the Savior as we healed the other one that was on the floor. The pain that you've experienced, whether exactly what I have, or something different is real. The sadness, the tears, the trauma, the exhaustion is real. Sometimes we feel so tired, that we are so fatigued, that we can't even imagine being responsible for doing something else either that day, or when we wake up in the morning, we're thinking there's no way I can function. Most likely you're experiencing battle fatigue.
You've worked hard. You've been working on what you've been trying to get through for so long. Or maybe you're at the beginning and you don't even know what you're doing. There's a lot of stress and anxiety that comes with learning these things. And when we have fought and fought and fought, day after day, month after month, year after year, and we feel like it's never gonna end; that's battle fatigue. You are deserving of taking a break. You are deserving of taking a rest, of breathing into it, putting it aside for a moment. Maybe you're not through it all yet. Maybe you're still smack in the middle of it. Maybe it's just the beginning.
But for moments, you can take some self care. And imagine that pain, that situation, gather it all up as a whole in your mind and move it out of your initial space out of your mind, heart and head for just a moment. Move it to the side. Breathe, meditate, go on a walk, take a bath, journal write. Do you see what came out of this letter that I was writing? So much insight into where I was what I was feeling. I didn't know all of that was in there, until Ryan guided me through it. And he started this and then I was able to finish it. It helped to get out of my soul and onto the paper so that I could see things clear.
When I am bogged down with something and I don't even know what it is, I'm usually upset or more irritable, I will look outside of things and try to find things that bother me. Or when something is bothering me or I'm unsure about it, it feels bigger. And I'm looking at it like that's my problem. That's the reason I'm so upset right now. So now what I do when I'm feeling upset is I look and say is that really something I should be upset about? Or is there something going on in me that I'm feeling in some other way? I sit with that I'll write about it, journal it pray about it. And I'm usually shown what it is. Either I'm not forgiving somebody or something that happened. Or I've done something that I feel shameful about that I need to work through. Or there's feelings that are coming up from past things that is a new layer or a new level that I need to work through and feel and let go of.
Whatever it is it shows up. I work on it. I remove it, let it go, whatever the process is for me at that time. And then those other things that I thought were so big, really weren't. It was really things that were going on in me. That's a really good concept to learn because we can also look at it when somebody else is angry with us, when somebody else is placing blame on us or treating us badly, we can also say Hey, wait a second, have I really done something? Or are they projecting their own thoughts and feelings? It's helpful because it creates balance. It helps us say, Oh, no, that's them, not me. And you can imagine taking what they've just put on you, and giving it back to them. You can even say to yourself, okay, I'm going to give that back to that person right now, because that is not actually true for me, they may be feeling it, and I'm going to let them feel it. But I'm not going to take any of that on.
It's a really healthy process to learn. And it frees you up from all the chaos of trying to solve everybody's problems and fix everybody. Because we can't fix everybody. I thought I could, that's what my goal was, to fix me, fix him fix our relationship and keep our family together. It didn't matter how much I tried. And you guys I tried so hard. There's nothing that I didn't do, or was willing to do, and try. If it was put in my path, as a tool to try and get that plan accomplished. It didn't matter, there is no way for us to control and fix and heal another person. We only have control of us.
As we learn how to seek clear, how to know what to do, we're not giving up on the people that we care about by doing that, we're just learning how to manage our own selves in the situation so that we can actually be a better help to them. We can do better, and help more, if we're healthy ourselves. And if we know how to handle these new situations, or these new trials, or these new shocking things that we've never done before. Also, we need to remember to give ourselves some grace, and empathy for ourselves, that we are in something that we may not have ever experienced before. So therefore, we have no knowledge or education, on how to do it. And like my counselor said, in that letter, there is no right way.
I wanted him to give me a list. You tell me the exact list of what I should be doing and I will do it. I will do everything on it. If there's a guarantee that this is really the right way, he would tell me all the time. There's no right way. When we started EMDR and doing parts work. I said okay, okay, but tell me tell me as we do this, what what is the what is the outcome? What are you supposed to be hearing from me? He's like, there's no right way. Like, okay, but again, just tell me what kind of is the normal thing? He's like, there's nothing that's normal. I'm going to ask you some questions. I'm going to prompt you with some things. And you're going to tell me exactly what comes to your mind. It doesn't matter what it is.
It was really hard for me to let go of that at first. Because for one, I struggled with perfectionism. I wanted to do the right way. And I wanted to do it as quickly as possible. If I could get this healing thing on the road. Let's do it then. And I learned that it is a process. The key though, is finding the right tools that will help you. If you're just going along and not having things that will actually guide you and get you to the next step, it's going to take longer. My first two years in recovery after addiction came out, was like that. I was doing things I was going to 12 step. I didn't know about counseling that first year, so I wasn't learning how to change my own thoughts and behaviors. I wasn't learning how to not take on his stuff or try to fix him. I didn't know those things.
The next year, when I finally was introduced to counseling, it was wonderful, because he gave me the validation and assurance I needed that I wasn't crazy. And that this was an addiction. And it wasn't my job to make it better. It felt amazing. But that was just the first level made me feel good. I didn't have any tools. I left there feeling relieved. It was almost like I needed someone just to talk me down every other week. And that's what he did. And it was amazing. The following year is when I was introduced to Ryan, and that's where everything changed. That's where I started seeing clear and having the tools and looking at belief systems and looking at the codependent behaviors I had, and looking at my perfectionism and actually knowing this is betrayal trauma, like PTSD, which that was validating in itself, I had no idea. And that addiction is really real, and that it really does change those neural pathways in your brain.
Healing can happen but it takes work. And it takes healing and recovery to reconnect those pathways. I learned that recovery from betrayal trauma, and healing all the shock that happened to me, would take time. It could take a couple years. It would take three years. It could take four years. It could take out however long but I did it. I was then given all the tools and then I knew and then I could keep going. But what I found is everything that I ran into, even though it might not have been exactly what it was the fact that I was taking a step into something, would then open my eyes and lead me to something else.
So maybe at times not all of everything I did was super helpful in changing me or showing me with exactness what to do, but it was all part of the process in finding all the right tools. I wouldn't have necessarily been able to find Ryan, or Jennece, my energy person, had I not been open and starting in my path of my own recovery. It's important that we take this step. It's important that we walk in the dark and just do it with hopes that we're going to gain something or find our next step. As you've listened to this, if you are feeling overwhelmed with that, this is you that you relate to me and my letter, and feeling so much pain, with what you're in, you will see that you're not alone.
You will have heard that I was right in that same place that you are now. And what I want to offer you is hope. Hope that as you do the work, it actually gets better. You really do heal. Those things in that letter that I read, are no longer true for me. I do not feel any of those things anymore. There's not even any negative effects that happened to me because I felt that way. Everything that has come from this has been so beautiful and so positive. There is so much goodness in recovery and healing. When we choose to recover from either childhood wounds, addiction wounds, things that we've experienced, now, we become more. Our clarity is bigger. Our perspective is greater and we want that. We want to be able to see the world around us. We want to be able to feel free and feel hopeful and feel happy and feel love and be loved.
As you work on these things as you write your own letter to yourself as you process through what's going on with you; as you reach out. As you use either me and my programs that I have to offer or you have a counselor and an energy person or a group, practice talking out all of these things that are really going on, so you can get to the depth and the roots of what's holding you back. For me, I thought my love was gone. I thought it was completely that capability I had to love I thought was gone. And it wasn't she was right there with me the entire time. I just had to look at it a new way and see what we could be doing together.
You're doing the work. Just keep going step by step, one step at a time, one minute at a time, one moment at a time, one day at a time. Keep going pray about what you need, what programs you need, if you need one on one counseling, if you need groups, and those things will be offered to you. As they come into your your view, you will feel this feeling in your heart and soul of which one is right for you. And then take the leap. Figure out how to do it and take the leap and you will be able to get on the other side of trauma.
You will be able to heal, you will thrive you will be happy. You will have goodness and joy and you will really like what I want to do is just shout it to the rooftops at times. I just sometimes just go oh my gosh, I'm so grateful. I cannot believe that this is my life now. I cannot believe that all that pain turned into this. How grateful I am. I love sharing this with you. I love that we are becoming close that so many of you reach out to me. It's beautiful as you share your stories with me. I love you all. I wish you well this week and we will see you next week.