Facebook memories let me know this week marks my fourth divorce anniversary. My divorce-ary.
If you’ve been following me for a while, especially since the Last Mom blog days, you’ve probably seen me mention “traumaversaries.” Our bodies remember trauma even when it’s not at the forefront of our brains.
My divorce-ary is a traumaversary.
Divorce anniversary = trauma anniversary
I’m adjusting to my 21-year-old daughter moving back in with me, this time with her adorable baby. I work full-time in mental health and teach part time at the college. I am building an emotional wellness business. And I’m chronically ill.
Tired is just a constant part of my life right now.
But I still felt like something more was going on this week. I just felt off. I’ve been feeling so heavy. Even more exhausted than usual. I haven’t been sleeping well, my body is sore, I’m emotional eating, and I’m struggling with emotional regulation.
I’ve been wondering what’s going on. And then those Facebook memories let me know this is the week my divorce was finalized.
Aha! Yup. That checks out.
The trauma in my divorce anniversary
The divorce, starting with moving out, was hands down the best thing I did for myself. The trauma isn’t in the split. That was liberation.
- The trauma is in the 20 years I tried to convince myself everything was OK, all of the excuses I made to others, and the lies I told myself.
- The trauma is in knowing I kept my daughter in a household with a parent who hindered and worked against her well-being.
- The trauma is in recognizing all of the toxicity I accepted and contributed to.
- The trauma is in thinking about how I spent two decades as an adult walking on eggshells and sacrificing my own joy to try to keep another adult stable.
- The trauma is in knowing I taught my daughter to do the same.
- The trauma is in knowing I spent 14 days in ICU alone with my daughter following her suicide attempt -and that my daughter thought it was normal and acceptable for a father and husband to be totally absent during a crisis.
- The trauma is in being sad for the version of me who thought I couldn’t possibly survive on my own, even though I made the money, took care of the household, and did all of the parenting.
- The trauma is in grieving all I missed out on by keeping myself so small in that box.
- The trauma is in remembering not going to my childhood friend Katie’s wedding because he didn’t want to go and didn’t want me to go without him.
- The trauma is in thinking about all of the years I missed out on with Bestie Boo because my ex-husband didn’t like him.
- The trauma is in how I had to quickly wash my hands in the bathroom sink with scalding hot water for years because he didn’t want to pay a plumber to fix the cold water, insisting he could do it himself. (But he never did.)
- The trauma is in still catching myself turning on the hot water faucet from muscle memory occasionally to this day.
- The trauma is in how I lied and hid my spending even for bills and necessities to avoid being grilled and judged over ever penny.
- The trauma is in the six months of constant texts, Facebook messages and phone calls harassing me in between moving out and the divorce being finalized.
- The trauma is in hearing my therapist say “abuse” in relation to my marriage and letting it sink in.
- The trauma is in knowing the choices I made while neglecting and abandoning myself in my marriage has had lasting negative impact on my parenting choices and relationships with my girls, as well as my friendships and possible romantic relationships.
- The trauma is in all of the processing and reconciling of such a huge chapter of my life
- The trauma is in knowing he’ll read this (even though I’ve blocked him in every way I can) and use it to further his own story of how he’s constantly bullied and attacked and always the victim.
The divorce anniversary part really is a celebration! Finally facing the unhealthiness and happiness, then making the giant, terrifying moves to change was such a victory! But it still has some heavy baggage I’m still working through.
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