It is important to acknowledge the losses. It is important to let the feelings and emotions be present and to bring some gentle acceptance. We can allow the grief to be present without pushing the emotions down, punishing ourselves, or turning away.
For myself there were stages of grief. The unrelenting confusion, the denial, the disbelief, the utter horror of realizing that what I thought was love and a shared life was a series of manipulations.
I felt such unbearable sadness. I was numb.
There was the resentment, frustration, loss and the anger at having followed all the rules. There was anger at having played fair.
Asking myself: What did I do to deserve this? The shadows of the imagined future haunted me. The regrets were relentless. Expectations destroyed. This held me in perpetual state of sadness for all the losses of how I imagined life was going to “be”.
I would berate and punish myself. I would blame and shame myself relentlessly. I would think where did that strong woman that I used to be disappear to. How could I be such an idiot? What is wrong with me? Why did I stay so long? Why couldn’t I see it?
I would think to myself who was this charlatan I spent most of my adult life with? Did I really lose those 18 years?
When we release to the pain, it is a type of leaning in that requires us to let ourselves be with this deep direct suffering that is present in our minds and in our bodies. This very real pain can be felt in the depth of our bones.
It takes strength to allow ourselves the space to feel this pain in our bodies and in our minds. We can acknowledge that we have suffered.
In the end, the anger, the sadness, all of it, needs to be acknowledged, not pushed down. There is room for the anger. There is room for the pain.
You don’t have to feel cheery. You don’t have to feel okay.
Facing this devastation and resolving to make our way back to a self that we may have lost. We can find the fragments that remain and strengthen from within. This is the most important work of our lives.
We can lean into our pain and resolve to begin again. Slowly, showing up, every day, and beginning anew.
We can embrace this unfolding. There are little deaths that we can decide to let go of. We can loosen our grip on our old lives, our old stories, and envision our new path .
This is when we encounter a choice point. An emptiness and a void of sorts will remain. This is when we decide to begin again and take small steps to a new way of living.
We are worth the effort and dedication despite the difficulties. We can begin today down a different path. Small steps lead to big change.