This Is How

How I was when he left. And how I turned a shattered life into a story of hope.

3/22/20233 min read

Yesterday I watched my ex-husband pull up with our daughter in his most current girlfriend's vehicle. His pickup truck is falling apart. It's the vehicle that I insisted we buy, in my name, for him because he was driving a dump when we met.

I watched as his girlfriend turned around to speak to our daughter. I felt anger rise in me.

I look up at the sky.

Deep breath.

Count to 10.

My daughter climbs into the car, smiling. I smile and say, "Hi, my girl! How was your visit?"

I watch them drive off.

That used to be me in the passenger seat of my vehicle while he drove us.

That used to be me that watched him drop off his older children to their mother.

That used to be me that tried to connect with another woman's children.

On the drive home from our little middle-of-nowhere meeting spot, I thought back to how he left me. I thought back to the times that was me who was supporting the part-time dad. I told myself that it is ok that another woman is showing my daughter love. And the follow-up thought: "That woman had better know her place with my daughter or she'll see the ugly side that he paints of me."

The night things ended with my ex-husband was the shattering of the former me. The breaking open and making space for the cleaning up of my soul needed to happen. So in these moments of feeling some emotions about how it used to be, I remember that I forgave that girl who led me here and chose a man from her wounds. And always check in with me now to see what needs to be healed, what needs attention, and if I'm repeating any old patterns from those wounds.

He may have left me a shattered mess. But I didn't leave myself there. I chose to love the girl who was so broken. And I still choose to love, forgive, and be grateful for her. Because she is me. I am her.

I am now in a healthy relationship. This is why doing the work is so important. I would miss out on unlearning the toxic patterns in unhealthy relationships and learning how to do healthy ones.

My partner called me one day to tell me a story about an emotional limp. He came up with this. He told me a story about how someone had caused an injury to another person resulting in a broken ankle. He said the person who caused the injury left. The injured person now had a responsibility to either walk around with a limp on a broken ankle or go get help from the doctor to properly heal that injury. He said, "This is just like when someone caused emotional trauma. It is our responsibility to go get help, take ourselves to the doctor, and properly heal the injury." The saying: if you don't heal what cut you, you will bleed on someone who didn't hurt you.

Doing the healing work is hard. There is a lot of forgiveness. There is a lot of releasing of ideas that you held onto. There's a lot of letting go of judgment. There is ownership for the part that you played in toxic relationships. And there is a lot of grace given to yourself in the process.

If you are coparenting with a person who shattered your heart and there is still a lot of pain. I am sorry. I understand. I see you. I hear you. And I want you to know there is help and healing on the other side of this. If you would like to know more about the healing journey and the programs that I invested into for myself, feel free to fill out the email form and get in touch.

It is never too late to invest in yourself, or to do the healing work. Start now.

And as always, be well.