A Stranger In My Bed: Love, Betrayal and Empowerment

Love:

In June of 2011, I made a life changing decision that I thought was the best day of my life. I got married. I married a man who I dated as a teenager and somehow lost touch with for 23 years. Which, to be honest, sounds a little strange, being as though, I’m very close to his family. You see, both of his cousins are my youngest child’s godparents.

Through Facebook, we reconnected, and eventually started dating. During this time, I found him to be a wonderful person with a big heart. There was nothing that he wouldn’t do for anyone if it was in his power. He was affectionate, sensitive, passionate, generous, and hard working. Yet, this black cloud of bad luck just seemed to loom over him.  No matter how hard he tried to better his life, he was faced with circumstances that made it damn near impossible to overcome. But he never stopped trying and that’s what made me fall head over heels for him. I felt a NEED to help him in any way I could. I helped get his child support order fixed. Through a friend of mine, he got a union job. Something he’s never had. I showed him how to open a bank account. Taught him how to drive and helped him get his driver’s license. In my eyes, we were going to make it.

Eventually we moved in together. During that time, we had more great times than not. When we would have arguments, apologies came easy to the both of us. We never stayed mad for 24 hours. Life with my husband was great.  As time went on, his teenaged daughter came to live with us and I must say, our marriage almost ended more times than I’d like to mention due to her rebelliousness, and his inability to parent. Nonetheless, he was my husband, and I vowed better or worse so I found ways to deal with the disruptiveness of her living with us. I mean, hey, she’s his kid. I knew about her before we got together and despite the way she came to live with us, she was here and I had to make it work.

Betrayal:

Fast forward 2 ½ years later.

In March, 2014 (without going into the gory details) my husband was arrested for raping a child, who was a young teenager, in my care and molesting my daughter. The rape was a onetime encounter and my daughter suffered the abuse for years while residing with us. When asked why she would keep such a secret, she told me because she didn’t want me to get mad and kick them out. My heart broke into pieces I knew would never be mended. Here, my (9 year old at the time) thought it would be best to keep such a secret so they wouldn’t be homeless. You see, everyone knew, that everyone knew, but me.

Thankfully, he admitted to both charges and saved everyone the embarrassment, discomfort and all that goes with the process of cases such as these. So for that, I am thankful to him.

Now I’ll be the first to admit, I USED to think I KNEW what I would do if that were to ever happen. But this thing called reality has its own plans. When I first learned about what he’s done, I was numb. When I say numb, I mean I felt a HUGE void within me. A big space of nothingness. I would find myself bursting into tears randomly without a known source. I couldn’t determine exactly what emotions were causing those tears at that moment. Was it sadness? Anger? Hurt? Betrayal? If you can name an emotion, believe me, I questioned if it was it. The pain would be too much to bear, that at times, I contemplated suicide just to make the pain stop. That emptiness is indescribable. But I knew, had I opt for that, my little one would blame herself for telling me. She would have wished she would have kept her mouth shut and endured all he was doing to her and I could not let her go through that. I LITTERALLY had to fight crazy. Yes…crazy! I mean, here I am mourning the death of my husband who was still alive. I mourned the death of a man I knew would never be. I didn’t know who that man was that sat in a jail cell because the man I married would NEVER do the unthinkable and to some, unforgivable act. Yes, my husband died on March 8, 2014 at 1:08 p.m.

At times I would feel this sensation of calmness that was so welcoming and inviting. This feeling was so powerful that it scared me. I knew had I succumbed to such pleasure, I wouldn’t return. I wouldn’t WANT to return. I knew I would end up in a psyche ward or roaming the streets of NYC aimlessly, thoughtlessly, and eventually I would die by my own will. Yet, I wanted…no…NEEDED this pain, that’s ripping me to shreds, to stop. So I opted for the next best thing. I shut my feelings off. I tapped into my very core, the person I was designed to be and shut it off. I was no longer me because being, “me” was too painful. Too destructive. Too reckless. Every day was a battle to NOT feel anything. I drank excessively for months. Only Lord knows how I made it throughout those times. For someone who is sensitive, giving, loving, empathetic, apathetic, it hurt me to know that I can NEVER be me. But you know what, anything was better than feeling the pain. My boss gave me as much time as I needed to get through this ordeal, so I knew I at least had a job to go back to once I’m ready.

But you know what made the whole ordeal worst. I decided I didn’t want counseling. I needed to be able to conjure up the pain whenever I would see happy couples. I needed to hurt as a reminder to never fall in love; a constant reminder, to always keep my guards up. A reminder of what can happen if I decided to trust another man again.

Eventually, the waterworks went from multiple times throughout the day to once a day, to every couple of days to every now and again to, barely shedding a tear.

I know this is where a lot of people may get confused with my thought process. “Why would anyone want to hurt over and over and over again, so they don’t fall in love”? Well you see, I thought I did everything right. I conducted a full background check. As a former private investigator I had the means to do so. I would also ask my little one if he’s touched her in ways that made her feel uncomfortable or weird, which she would always answer no to. I would watch how they interacted with each other without either of them knowing and found no signs. So, after taking all the necessary precautions, I no longer trusted my judgement in men. How could I? I DID EVERYTHING RIGHT! Yet still, not only was my daughter violated but so was a child of two beings who entrusted me with keeping their daughter safe while in my care.

So, even though I KNEW it was NOT my fault, I still unknowingly blamed myself. I felt this conscious need to be constantly punished. Punished for an act not committed by me nor had I any control over. Looking back, I guess it’s safe to say I felt the need to feel her hurt as long as I had breath in me. Her pain will be my pain.

Before I go on any further, let me start by saying, this thing called, “Empowerment”, is by far the most difficult process of healing. You see, in order for me to become empowered, I have to reveal secrets. Secrets kept from family and friends. Secrets that others would rather I sweep under the rug and kept hidden from others, in order to save face; secrets that will expose the truth about their loved one. Then I realized this secret is the same secret that was kept from me for so long. So I asked myself, if I, too, keep this secret, how am I any different? I’m not, for, if I’m not a part of the solution, I am truly a part of the problem. That is something I wish not to be.

I did not choose to tell my story so others may bash him. I know how others feel about men who prey on children. I know what others would like to do to them. That is NOT my goal. My love for him (as the person I knew) do not want to paint him as this horrible monster who waits for an opportunity to get his “jollies” off on an innocent prey.

That’s not the case here.

With that said, of course hindsight gives us the clearest vision, than that of the eyes we were born with, and I’ll admit, there were actions on his part that made me questioned if he was ever violated as a child but yet, I never asked. To be honest, I didn’t think he would have been honest with me anyway. So why bring it up? Now, looking back, I wish I did. Things may or may not have been different, but at least an effort would have been made on my part. But you know what? I won’t be able to move forward if I remained stagnated over the “what ifs”.

My goal is to provide others with a healthy way of dealing with the inner turmoil that stirs within them. I want my story to be another person’s light in their darkest days, their lonely days to filled with an abundance of love, support and most importantly the days when life’s pain becomes too much to bare, I want to be able to provide the one thing….the most important thing I myself was without….HOPE!

When everything was first revealed to me, I cursed God. I mean I really cursed him! I cursed him for sending me someone as great as my husband, who treated me better than ANYONE I’ve ever been with, just to not only rip him from me, but to also take the innocence of children along with him. I cursed him for giving me a false sense of security. I cursed him for allowing me, a person who really tries desperately to make others happy, when they are incapable of doing so themselves, to be flamboozled by a cruel joke, that only He found humorous. I cursed him for allowing the abuse to happen for so long without my knowing. I mean, where was the “love” for his children, for the innocent souls who’s done nothing wrong to deserve this. I cursed him because when I would call out to him, my voice was unheard, my pain was constant and only seemed to get worse over time. Hell, I couldn’t even come to terms with taking my own life to extinguish the pain of emptiness inside of me. How could I? I couldn’t leave my baby alone in a world where she would hate herself for causing my death by doing the very thing I taught her to do which is to tell me. So yes, I cursed him for “FORCING” me to hurt over and over and over again. Where was he when I tried to get counseling for me and my little one and the only concern the other person on the other end of the phone had, was the status of my insurance (which, I did not have at the time). WHERE WAS HE?!!! How can a “God” who is soooo merciful be sooo cruel?

So I did what I thought was best for me. I shut that tiny switch called “emotions” off. To feel nothing by choice was a lot easier to handle than having that empty void forced upon me. Now I’m not going to sit here and lie and say, it was an easy task because it wasn’t. Taking away the essence of which I pride myself on left me no longer knowing who I was. It left me, not bitter, but definitely hopeless. I was trying to find ways to cope with the ideology of being without a mate for the rest of my life. I will never be able to be in a healthy relationship, where plans for the future were spoken, where feelings of love are expressed. I will never be able to enjoy memories of growing old with someone. I will never be able to do what I do best…..LOVE. The thought of being alone and lonely for the remaining days of my life on this earth only added to my already pained soul. And that hurt a lot!!

As time went on, the pain lessened. My emotions were finally in check. I would be able to go about my daily routine and plaster on a fixated smile on my face and went on about my day. Everything was going fine until, December 19, 2014. Just like Craig in the movie Friday, I got fired on my day off. YUP! Another blow I have to deal with. Just 1 week before Christmas (the first without my husband) and my baby’s birthday (she was born on Christmas Day) and my already spent Christmas bonus. So here I am now jobless, husbandless and angry. Actually, I think angry is an understatement but you get my drift.

It was that very moment that I’ve decided I will not become a statistic but a testimony. It was that moment that I realized, we are not defined by the situations we encounter but how we react to it. I want others to be able to have faith that it doesn’t have to hurt forever. There are ways in which one can find inner peace.

Empowerment:

“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles” Christopher Reeve

Trust me, once you begin to apply the tools I am empowering you with, you’ll experience this electrifying sensation, course throughout your whole body. You will instantly feel free. Free to do whatever you want because that “time” is not spent worrying over something that’s unchangeable at THAT moment.

“To find the fairy tale ending, one must first create the story within. The act merely presents itself to give you the opportunity to re-act. How you react is part of YOUR personal journey.”

Evolve – The first step in empowering oneself is to evolve. This is a very important step, in changing the way we think. We all know, perception, determines actions.

If you find yourself in a place of unhappiness and despair, find a lesson from what you’ve experienced, learn from it and LET IT GO.

Motivate – Move forward towards things that will help you reach your intended goal. Knowing you will be faced with obstacles time and time again, will ensure that you remain positive during those trying times. In saying so, you must be prepared to formulate a plan. Hell, you may even have to prepare a plan B for your plan A and a plan C for your plan B. If this happens to be the case, don’t worry, you will only get better at making it better.

Persevere – Perseverance requires endurance. Nothing is appreciated more than achieving success from hard work. NEVER give up!! You may stumble and hell, you may fall, but always remember, success is only obtained by those who get back up and try again. Failure is not determined by the outcome of your efforts but by the lack thereof!

Outlet – Having a healthy outlet will get you through so many hard times. For instance, when I find myself in a situation that can take me from 0 to BOOM in 2.3 seconds, I remind myself to take a few deep sloooow breaths and THINK. I think about the situation and at least 3 possible consequences of MY re-actions. I find that when I am cool, calm and collective, I make better decisions. Remember better choices are made by logic, not by emotions.

Turning on fast music and pretending that I am the worst contestant on, “So You Think You Can Dance”, and dance like nobody’s watching (NO MATTER WHERE I AM) is my preferred outlet. I know there may be some of you wondering if I do that with strangers around and the answer is, “Hell to the yea”. You see, you have to remember, I’m on a journey to MY happiness. Not theirs. I’m not hurting anyone one bit. So if I have to dance my blues away, then so be it. Believe it or not, there are times I’ll be in my zone and look up, just to find people smiling and nodding their heads. That goes to show, energy, is in fact transferable.

Willingness – Happiness is a choice, only WE, can choose to obtain for ourselves. If you choose to be happy, you will be. If you are hell bent on being miserable, guess what? You will be. No one is in charge of your emotions, actions and re-actions but you.

Believe it or not, being happy is a difficult emotion to maintain. Life has a way of making us think that something is of dire importance, right at that very moment, when it may not be. So what happens then? We worry and stress over said situation even though there is absolutely nothing we can do one damn thing about. My advice to you is, if at that moment…that very moment in time, you are unable to do anything about it, LET IT GO! Let it be. Worrying about things that will not or cannot change, is a waste of something you can never get back…time.

Equilibrium – Balance is often overlooked. However, balance brings harmony and harmony brings peace.

Your mind, body and spirit have to be in agreement. Being aware of your thoughts will prompt better actions. Not to mention, better health. We all know stress can lead to many underlying health issues.

So before you get your panties all up in a bunch, ask yourself, “Is stressing over a situation, you cannot change, worth possibly dying over?” If your answer is, “No”, then let it go until you can do something to remedy the situation.

Reflect – Reflect, reflect and reflect! I cannot stress the importance of reevaluating your life. Reflecting is the mirror of YOUR life. I, myself, find reflecting helpful when I began to feel down or at times, unsuccessful. It is then that I realize how far I’ve come and how much further I’ll be 1 year from now.

Meditate – Now don’t freak out by this. If you think meditating only consists of sitting in an Indian style, with your eyes closed, palms up, and chanting, rest assure, it is not.

I learned how to meditate by listening to, “The Secret of the Universal Mind” by Kelly Howell.

Watch here…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tF14GnCJqk

I would strongly advise, you listen to this while you are in bed and prepared to sleep. When you wake up in the morning, don’t be surprised at how rested you feel.

Don’t forget to take deep, slow and steady breaths. You may feel as if you’re floating. Don’t be alarmed, you’re supposed to feel that way. Just like you’re supposed to feel energy…yes, energy, flow through you. If you’re doing it right, you will feel a tingling sensation that’s calming.

Become a part of your surroundings. Connect with the universe. We are all a part of everyone and everything.

Extinguish – Remove the, “I cant’s” from your vocabulary. As long as you believe you can’t, you won’t.

Network – NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!! I can’t stress enough the importance of networking.

One can benefit networking in many ways; however, the following two has been a win-win situation for me, thus far.

Networking for profit: Meeting likeminded individuals on a business level can generate profit for a company either by gaining the person you’ve just met, business or by becoming a referral for someone else’s needs.

Networking for recreation: Let’s say your hobby is…uhhhmmm…I don’t know…photography.

Can you imagine how much fun you’d have meeting other photographers who either, enjoys your photography choice just as much as you or the fact that you are enjoying life by just doing what you love to do.

In other words, it doesn’t matter what your passion is, there are many out here who loves it just as much as you do. Now don’t catch a panic attack at the thought of putting yourself out there if you’re not the social type. That’s the point of empowering yourself. You’re making changes that will be frightening at first but when you actually take that first step, you’ll realize you were afraid for nothing.

I found http://www.meetup.com a very lucrative site. There you’ll be able to join a group of kindred spirits on outings and functions, where, a lot of the activities are free.

So get out there and network!!

AND LAST BUT SURELY NOT THE LEAST…

Teach – By empowering others is how one continues to empower themselves.

Teach others the skills you’ve acquired and wisdoms you’ve gained through either experiences or through someone else’s experience, can benefit others tremendously.

So how does everything tie in together?

The moment I decided I no longer wanted to put my happiness and security in someone else’s control and the overwhelming freeness I acquired, once I applied the above to my life, I wanted the same for others.

I want to show each and every one of you just how special and important you are. How beautiful you are. How loved and cared about you are.

My goal here is to ensure others do not feel alone and helpless as I did and I truly hope I’ve accomplished it.

Peace, harmony and blessings to you all!!

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