Alone and Processing
“I love you, but I cannot stand you” were some of the hurtful words spoken into my heart from my ex-husband. He told me that every time we fought, his heart grew colder toward me. When I asked why he took me with him to Florida, he said it was because he knew I wanted to leave Spokane, and he took pity on me, not because he wanted to be with me.
Why did I prefer emotionally abusing comments over being alone? Was I that insecure? I hated myself for being that desperate for love. When I was younger I used to think I would never allow myself to be mistreated because I had too much respect for myself. The young Angela never would have put up with cheating. She would have left Steve there on the spot before he could even finish his sentence. What happened to me?
I hated being alone. Alone was scary, but thoughts of ending up like my dad scared me more. He’s been unable to move on with his life since my mom left him thirty years ago. Was I to become someone who replayed the past or could I find the strength to overcome, get up in the morning, hold down a job and reinvent my life?
I spent a lot of time at the church to escape myself, but I eventually caught up. In the time I spent alone, I was forced to get to know myself. Slowly, I worked on fixing those parts I didn’t like. But the important question I had to ask myself was, did I not like myself based on someone else’s opinion of me? The longer I was away from the influences of my ex-husband, I began to change back to the person I was before I met him and morph into what God wanted me to be like.
God also revealed how unhealthy my marriage was and the damage that was left to fix. During the divorce I kept probing for answers to things that I missed or purposely ignored. When I questioned Steve, I always received conflicting stories. I needed to know the truth, no matter how painful, about how long he’d been involved with her and when he decided to officially leave me.
Several times in the past I had a feeling that he was hiding something from me, and I did searches to see if he had a separate e-mail account. Finally, I discovered his account and had my proof through the e-mails they were sending each other. He knew before he came to Lake Havasu that he was leaving me. Reading their correspondence gave me a form of closure.
Over time, I learned how to separate myself from my ex-husband and establish my own life. I even started making my duplex my home. The neighborhood around me was a nightmare, but with some care, inside became my haven. I was no longer required to put up with someone else’s demands and expectations to have a place to live.
I fixed up the front porch with plants and a fountain, bought new bedroom furniture and scattered my stuffed animals on the love seat to make the living room seem less empty. Watching “our” television shows even became less painful as I learned to make them my own. My dogs were a great help. They comforted me through my many lonely days and nights and made me feel loved and accepted.
I learned how to be so comfortable with myself, I still treasure my alone time.
Every season, no matter how painful or seemingly pointless it is, has a reason. In this season I would discover who I really was and what I was to become.