My husband was leading a double life. How I fell apart, then found strength.

Being trapped in my body meant that I couldn’t run from the darkness or try to do whatever it took to feel “good” again.

We humans naturally try to avoid feelings of discomfort — especially today, when instant gratification is just a click away on social media or a swipe away on an online dating app, when endorphins can be produced and manipulated simply by picking up an iPhone. People are even less likely to be still. To just feel.

But as I sat in my pain, I slowly started to trust my own intuition. I became grounded in a very clear sense of self.

When you begin to truly trust and like yourself, you tap into an immense amount of power.

mother laying next to her babygirl

You’ve always possessed this power. Maybe you just never knew how to access it. You find a power within yourself that’s like an anchor, freeing you from a lot of life’s insecurities that seemed so important before.

Dr. Sharon Dekel says, “Post-traumatic growth can be defined as a workable coping mechanism, a way of making and finding meaning involved in the building of a more positive self-image and the perception of personal strength.”

The other side of pain is not comfort, or health, or well-being. It is truth.

When this truth comes pouring in, you begin to see all the grimy layers of protection lift away, and you discover that your journey has just begun. You begin to let the light in and, what’s more, you begin to seek out the light.

One morning I woke up and had a sudden realization. The thought entered my mind like a lightning bolt:

“You were always whole to begin with.”

So as much as I sometimes want to scream and rage at my ex-husband, I also want to thank him. I want to thank him for forcing me to become the person I was always meant to be, for showing me that I am a fighter and that I will never give up.

But most importantly, I thank him for allowing me to become this person before my daughter ever knew anyone else.

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