Progress along the path isn’t linear, as Journey says. And sometimes it’s frustrating that after months have passed, recovery isn’t yet complete. It’s a different timeline for everyone, but milestones reveal themselves along that way. Longtime member Done Sourcing recently shared his experience with a member who was questioning the timeline at the 16 month mark. The honesty, accuracy, inspiration and most importantly insight is so valuable I’m compelled to share it as a blog. Thank you DS for your honesty and for helping others on the path.
Sixteen months out for me was October 2011...I was about 5 months onto The Path Forward forum, living in my second place since moving out from “our” house, had started another new job, and was splitting custody 50-50, barely making ends meet. She was still trying to hoover me and suck me into being her emotional punching bag. I was learning about NC, and trying to figure out limited contact due to having a child together.
At 16 months out, I had been led to understand that I could recover from all of it, and get out whole. Bitterness gone. Anger gone, resentment gone, and be a free, happy man again. At 16 months I have some very good days, and some very tough moments that sometimes last for hours or a couple of days. Sometimes right after a strong hoover I am overwhelmed by a feeling of doom, like the abuse and strong feelings of uselessness will never go away. But by now, I’m sleeping good again. I’m also having fun sometimes. I’m able to read, and comprehend what I’m reading. Everything isn't reminding me of “us” anymore. Some of the twisted thinking is unraveling...I am starting to understand that I had sold myself out for her, and that I had surrendered a big part of my common sense and self worth to try to make it work with her.
At 16 months out, I remember wishing she would marry the man that she had cheated on me with. That was a huge breakthrough. I want him to take care of her so that she would finally leave me alone. Wanting her to leave me alone was a breakthrough. I still had habitual thoughts of her that feel hard-wired in. I was really wanting to forgive her for the hurt she had caused, but still didn’t know how to do that. The feeling that I would never be able to still came to me sometimes. I still had bitterness and anger and resentment, and it seemed so unfair that I had to still communicate with her while trying to recover from her.
At the 16 month mark, I still spent a lot of time trying to figure out what she was up to, meaning analyzing her, and trying to figure out how to protect me from her. At this point, I was quite aware of how foolish, simple, and selfish she really was. For her it was and is truly all about her, and I realized that by now.
But I still felt haunted and angry sometimes. And sometimes felt like a lot of members here...that I would never get over it.
I got the D and D in march of 2010, and stayed in the house for another 4 months or so after that. My divorce was final end of October 2010. Lots of crap has come up, and gone down the pike...I’ve spent valuable time trying to live and understand what was going on in her head.
Today I am happy to know that I never want her back, not even in my secret place. She has become annoying and oh so shallow. She seems a selfish child in a woman's body, and I wish she would find comfort someplace and simply fade away. I do the limited contact, and wish it could be even more limited.
In short, I guess the answer to the 16-month-mark question is, sometimes yes, I’m recovered, and sometimes no. That is how it feels to me at 16 months.
Today, however, things are different. Now, about twice that amount of time has passed, and I know I am getting well over it. I have travelled great distances in healing and growth and understanding these last few years. And I am glad for it. I like myself more now that ever in my life...and my relationships all benefit from that feeling.
Keep the faith, keep doing the work and sharing the feelings, and stay away from toxic people.