Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum

Bitter, who moi?


Following on from what others have posted about bitterness recently, I thought I’d add my two cents worth.  My biggest fear – even on the night I found out about the affair – was bitterness.  I have never been a bitter person.  I have had a few challenges in my life, some of which I own, some of which I had no say in, but I have never experienced bitterness.  I was determined that this was NOT going to be my life.  I was NOT going to be defined by this event.  If I had to wear it – and I knew I had no choice, of course I had to wear it – I was NOT going to be sad, or worse, BITTER about what happened.  I had survived a few “bad things” in my life, and I felt confident that I could do the work here and get to this “better place” that everyone talked about, that I read about.  

Five years later, I think there is a degree of bitterness.  It is not welcome,  I don’t want to feel pissed off at what happened, I want to be happy, strong and emotionally “successful.”  I have willed it, I have chased it, I have pretended it.  But I haven’t got there, not fully.  There is a lot of knowledge, a lot of self understanding. I cut myself a lot more breaks than I did in the beginning.  But bitterness might just be an inevitability? How is that when I have survived violent rape by a friend, at worst, and unjust behaviour at other stages of my life?  Why do I struggle with – what I think is a reasonable level, not excessive amount of – bitterness?

I also read a post about a betrayed who never even entertained the thought of leaving.  That floored me.  Not because I judge that woman. Not at all. But because I was so confused by that? How can you not think about leaving when your heart has been ripped out of your chest, still beating, squeezed of all its blood, crushed, then stomped on, then shredded, then burnt, then stuffed back into the cavity it came from, with the expectation that you would be okay now?  I kicked him out three times, for eight months. I know I didn’t immediately, but I immediately THOUGHT about life without him.  I think I have a strong fight or flight instinct, and it seems to flip from one to the other regularly, almost randomly. I wish I was one of those who was completely sure I had done “the right thing” in staying, in keeping him around, in attempting to rebuild.  Instead, I doubt my motives, I doubt my strength, I doubt who I am anymore. It goes without saying, I doubt he CAN love like I did.


8 thoughts on “Bitter, who moi?

  1. I keep reading the word bitter applied to betrayed spouses and I think, why is it such a terrible term? Read the definition, there’s nothing awful there. Do we lash out at people who don’t deserve it? No. Do we feel pissed off at being treated badly? Hell yes and what’s wrong with that? Reclaim the word. It’s not saying you’re some horrible person who plots to destroy the innocent. It’s saying you were damaged, you’re no longer a trusting happy person. That’s not something to be ashamed of. But that’s me. Bitter doesn’t really describe what they’re hurling at us to my mind.

    I feel like the epithet that they really mean is “mean”. They think betrayed spouses are mean spirited. If you look at words and actions labelled bitter that is what it’s about. And I say to that, I’m not mean, I’m not tolerating evil. It’s very different. I’m not suffering fools. Deal with it.

    Horsesrcumin I don’t think you’re bitter. But even if you were I don’t see why to feel bad about that.

  2. As for the woman who never considered leaving? Honestly in the immediate aftermath neither did I. It was so unreal. It couldn’t be happening. I was unemployed with a newborn and another child. I really was trapped, emotionally and financially.

    Later I thought about leaving a lot and decided it wasn’t the best option. I kind of hate that. I hate that I felt I was still better off staying (and I don’t mean financially).

    So I’m probably not far off, I never really seriously got close to leaving. I made him leave to be honest, I never said it was “over”. Is that weird?

  3. Both good points, Nephila. I see bitterness a little differently. I hear you taking ownership of the term. I mean maybe something that is “off-page” in its definition. I feel pissed that I feel pissed. I feel pissed that I am majorly more cynical. I feel pissed that I hate so much of my life. I am pissed that somehow I gave them the power to hurt me. Still. I am not particularly articulate about this (or much!) That is how I see my bitterness.

    I guess I get angry that I am still here when I get down. I feel kinda “weak” (even though I am aware of the strength in staying) for still being here. Like it’s okay to disrespect me, abuse me and infect me. It feels like I don’t respect myself enough in those low moments. I know I deserve so much more than this. He ruined our love story. And for what? And so it goes. Around and around. Emergency brake needed!

  4. I’m bitter. I own it. Do I let the bitterness infiltrate every aspect of my life? No. But when it comes to the EA, the OW and PA Mans lack of understanding and help, yes, I am bitter.
    But maybe that’s not a bad thing? Maybe that helps protect me….??

  5. The blog “Everyone has a Story” painted the picture very well of a bitter woman. The betrayed spouse on this blog left her husband and moved into a rooming house. The owner of the house was the stereotypical bitter woman. The owner’s husband also had an affair. In their case, he left and married the other woman. That was many years ago. The owner has never moved away from the pain and anger and bitterness. It colors everything she says and does, the way she views the world and the way she interacts with it. It was so bad that all the roomers got together and found another house and all moved out together. The owner’s own children did not want to be around her.

    I know other people who have become this kind of angry, bitter people. My aunt was one of them. Her husband left her for another woman, too. She was a nut case after that, and never enjoyed life again, not for the rest of her life, which lasted 45 years after her divorce. I grew up with my mom always using her as an example of how NOT to think and act. No one wanted to be around my aunt for very long, just like the owner in the above story. Hers was a sad life.

    You are not like these people, Paula. I don’t think I am like these people now, but I worry about my future sometimes. As a betrayed spouse it would be easy to stray down this path. Like you said, bitterness at some level is next to impossible to avoid. I struggle with it sometimes… once in a while, it is so much so that I cannot look at my husband without wanting to verbally lash out and tear him to pieces with verbal abuse like you cannot believe. And there are times when I am standing at the beach on a gorgeous day when everything is perfect, but my mood remains angry and dark. At these times, it would be easy to sink into letting this become my life forever. Indeed, it was my life for a long while after discovering Daniel’s affair.

    I aim to be aware and avoid delusions that will lead me to making bitterness the core of my being. Never, never, no, not ever. I am going to enjoy life. No one, not even Daniel, is worth losing my happiness for.

    • Well said, DJ. I just resent the mindfulness it takes to “just be.” I relate entirely. I also am determined, and have been since D-day, to get on with MY life, to build MY life, as building one with him just left me too vulnerable for me to be able to cope with the world on any level.

  6. IDK. But it seems to me that justifiably bitter people need our love and compassion, not condemnation. As betrayed spouses we shouldn’t worry if others perceive us as bitter or even what bitter is, rather shouldn’t we understand? As a betrayed I get it, the total devastation, the lack of support and understanding. I say to bitter betrayeds, ” I know your pain, grief and fury and I won’t leave you alone with that. I’m here with you. Rage away….”

    • Thanks Moddie. Very true. Unfortunately, although I am inherently a very loyal and compassionate person, I probably didn’t FULLY get the devastation. Until it was me. I knew it was bad. I knew it doesn’t go away. But I didn’t appreciate the scale, I guess. I think that seems to be true for most of us, which is why the blogosphere is packed with us all talking, and supporting one another ;-x

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