I am a reasonably intelligent woman. But I made a massive mistake because I was so desperate to fit in again. Now come on, I know what a scam is! Usually. But when someone says that they don’t believe in temporary insanity, I have quietly said, “Well I do”. Because if I could be scammed like I was then anyone can be. And it was all because of my insecurity and desperation to feel whole again.
Catfished after divorce
Trauma after my divorce
Here is what I learned about my own trauma after my divorce resulted from infidelity. It fogs your thinking. It makes you believe that you are unlovable and unworthy of anyone to give a hoot about.
Shame after my divorce
Here is what I know about shame. It stresses you out and puts pounds on your body as an expression of self-punishment to ensure that you feel so ugly that you won’t ever try to find love again and you most certainly will not be lovable. Because why would you try to find love, when you are ugly?
Who would want you?
The irony is that I am and always have been the ultimate optimist. I always see the sunny side of everything, much to my children’s annoyance. I tend to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I have always been relatively pretty too. I never had issues with dating before marriage. And now. the one area of my life that I am not an optimist in is the love department.
Even though I have had some post-divorce relationships, they were never good relationships. They were always one-sided, and I usually gave more than I received. I always met people in person, rather than online. The one time I actually jumped into it and thought I found someone resulted in another act of betrayal. Betrayal on my own sensibilities.
How I was catfished
The reality is that I was a victim of a crime that I could never dream of experiencing. Me… the protector of my family. Me… the single mother left to raise a family alone and keep a career intact. Me? How could this happen to me? I am strong. I am smart. I am no pushover! Well, apparently I was. I had no one in my life to protect “me” any longer too. At least that is how I felt in the immediate moments after I realized what happened and after I came out of the fog of my unconscious utter stupidity.
Never put the key to your happiness into somebody else’s pocket.
Five years ago, I was scammed out of a significant amount of money. I have never spoken about it. Ever. But as I continue to heal from it, I have had time to reflect on how in the world I could have allowed this.
What happened to the woman who once resided in my body?
And what happened to my brain cells?
Just writing about this stirs up a lot of pain, embarrassment, and trauma. But I made a conscious decision to free myself of this secret once and for all. I have worked on shedding the actual physical weight and now emotional weight. I am 25 pounds lighter on my body, and I intend to match that by discarding my emotional weight and guilt for being duped as well. I guess it explains how I was easy prey for my ex-husband to cheat.
But, by facing this on paper, maybe I can help someone else that may have found themselves in this situation.
I have many people in my life who have sat in judgment of me for many years. I’ve never really understood it either. I mean, I am a good woman. A good mother. A good provider. I have never put myself ahead of my family. Ever. But as a result of my giving into their judgments and attempting to live up to their expectations, I have made many mistakes.
I departed from the true essence of who I am and surrendered to who I thought others wanted me to be. Without going into too much detail about what happened to me, because it literally causes me too much pain and makes me feel physically ill, I will explain the veil of it.
I met someone online who turned out to not be who he said he was, and I loaned him some money after months of knowing each other. I thought I was being supportive in my haze of rationalizations to myself. I knew it was not a good idea. I mean, I really am not a stupid woman! However, at the time I was feeling very isolated and alone. My friends and family all had such solid marriages and were feasting in the support and protection they gave to and received from their respective spouses. But I was alone.
Because there are always family get-togethers, it usually exacerbates my loneliness. It was the 4th of July and there was yet another such get-together. And simultaneously, I agreed to a request for a loan with the person I was seeing. I agreed because I thought it would secure me in this relationship. We were a team and I was being supportive as I talked myself into it.
I was utterly ignorant and naïve… and deep down I knew it too. But the feelings of being a “we”, rather than the ever present always only “me”, overtook my sensibilities.
I was temporarily insane!
So, I will assume fault for being tricked and just move on. That is what I have been saying to myself for a very long time. But I had to keep all of the balls in the air and continue with my responsibilities as a mom. I had a career to keep in motion as well. I had no time to address this emotionally and it took a toll on me over time. Both physically and mentally.
We repeat what we don’t repair.
Reframing my life
I have spent the last 5 years since this happened to me, reframing my life. Making sure I never repeat this mistake and many more. I now recognize the beliefs I have been surrounded by. All of which transferred to my beliefs about myself.
I didn’t know the ramifications of abandonment. I do now.
I now see the controls that surrounded me and that I allowed to define me. My need to make my picture match the pictures of other people was my own desperate attempt to fit in and belong to a club I was never able to fit into. I was mentally exhausted from it all too. I guess I had to get as low as one can feel to realize that I really am the pilot to my own life, and I didn’t need to feel desperate at all.
I have been through a lot in the past 20 years of raising a family alone. It all started with one shining moment by the beautiful experience of the birth of my daughter. But quite unexpectedly, my life began a new transition and a new purpose 4 weeks after her birth when my husband left our family to join another. I have been many people inside of the past two decades. And I had to figure out who I was over and over again.
The best thing I have learned is that real success is how much you bounce back after suffering a loss of any kind. And after experiencing this crime and having the ability to recover from that traumatic event, well I honestly know for a fact that I can indeed be and do anything I set my sights on.
I have put the work in, and I have no intention of revisiting the victim me, ever again.
I am a survivor. I am enough. I am okay. And, I am finding my inner happy again. I am not a victim. And what I know, without a shadow of a doubt is that I still have much more to learn about myself and much more to do for myself. And nothing can stop me from having the life I deserve. I insist.
So, with a deep breath and a long sigh, I keep moving forward with my head high and with no shame any longer. Not anymore. I now say to myself, don’t look back, you’re not going that way. I have weathered so much and still raised two exceptional kids and kept a career intact. I am still not sure why things happened the way they did in my life, but I know I will be just fine.