Inward Loss

This is a personal post about something that happened to me long ago that I think most people can relate to. I’ve thought of it many times over the years, but I’ve never really looked at it through writing. This is more of a journal entry than anything else, but I hope it connects with someone out there who might feel alone on this particular journey.

You can taste the dishonesty, it’s all over your breath, as you pass it off so cavalier

What inspired me to revisit this lonely chapter of my life was hearing the album Lemonade. Beyonce quite eloquently tells a story of loss that I immediately related to on the most basic level. Though I’d buried the ax, forgiven and forgotten, and long since moved on with my life, the experience of being cheated on changed me in ways that are still hard to describe. Long after the dust settled, I found that I lacked the boldness to even try to write about how much that experience hurt me. I am thankful this album came along and inspired me not only to revisit my own experience, but to be bold enough to let myself reflect on it.

Maybe we’ve all be cheated on and maybe we haven’t. But I feel like the feeling of needing someone and having them turn away is a very universal one. My story isn’t that unique, but it’s an interesting chapter of my life, and I think there’s something healing in being able to revisit and write about hard experiences. Especially this one. Nothing has ever turned me inside out quite the same way.

My lonely ear pressed against the walls of your world…pray to catch you whispering…pray you catch me listening

When I heard those words, they hit me in a place that had long since healed but still remembered the violent taste of betrayal. The anger, the self-doubt, the numbing, the shattered ego, the grief, the rage, the desperation, the heartbreak.

I wish I’d had this album when I was going through the inward loss that accompanies a relationship breaking down through dishonesty and cheating. It’s an experience many of us share, but in the moment I felt so alone. More than that, I felt crazy. The soul sickness of knowing your parter is falling in love with someone else and seeing the seeds of loss being planted all around you is almost unbearable. It was an awful time.

What’s worse, looking jealous or crazy? Or like being walked all over lately…I’d rather be crazy

What I remember most is the constant suspicion. The hardest part about being so suspicious was the fear that I was going crazy. The idea that something was wrong with me and caused me to see things that weren’t there. You’re just jealous. Relax, nothing is happening. You’re reading too much into it. She’s just a friend. He loves you. He’d never do that to you. Constantly trying to comfort the gaping hole in my heart that needed reassurance which couldn’t be given or received. We both knew, everyone knew, but I wasn’t ready or capable of saying out loud what I knew in my heart. Those are the things that stick out the most when I think back on the experience.

Something don’t feel right because it ain’t right
Especially comin’ up after midnight
I smell your secrets, and I’m not too perfect
To ever feel this worthless

And then there was the feeling of comparing every square inch of myself – body mind spirit and heart – to another woman. I spent my time desperately trying to figure out what was wrong with me. What is it about her? What makes him want her instead of me? How did I get so boring and unloveable? He used to love me. When did he stop?

Those questions seared my mind day and night. Jealousy is a bitter, scary feeling. I was often too unsure to say anything, and when I tried, I was repeatedly told it was all in my head. I constantly questioned myself, which left me on the sidelines of my own life.

At times I wondered why I couldn’t just be happy he had other people in his life and look for new friends of my own? When did I get so clingy and dependent? But the denial that goes along with being in the grips of codependency keeps you trapped. I placed all my eggs in one basket, and it was slipping away from me. I didn’t have a backup. This person had been my emotional survival, and I didn’t know how to function without him. In my sickness, I felt like I was getting ripped apart and someone else was stealing pieces of me.

What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you

In the brief moments when I fully let myself feel the loss, the anger welled up alongside my sadness. There haven’t been many times in my life when I felt so burned. I felt someone else creeping into my relationship – sneaking around – and if I noticed or brought it up, I only created more problems. He’ll see how jealous you are. You’ll look crazy. So I kept it to myself as much as I could. But in those rare times I let myself be angry, I got swept away with rage. The anger that someone could break up my happiness and take away my identity just so she could keep it all for herself. I wanted to lash out.

People always say it’s easier to blame the other person than your partner, and that was true for me. Especially since I had put such a naive and unhealthy dependence on this relationship. I knew he was lying to me, but it was so hard to point out because every time I brought up how unhappy I was, I got closer and closer to losing him. So I let him escape the wrath in my mind and tried desperately to find a way to salvage our relationship.

Tell me, what did I do wrong?
Feel like that question has been posed
I’m movin’ on ​

Once he finally left, I was able to accept things and deal with my emotions. The hardest part was clinging onto something that was shrinking more each time I tried to tighten my grip. Once the worst happened, I was able to grieve the loss that I had been preparing for all along. It was excruciating and involved a lot of back and forth – swearing him off forever, being mean, engaging in self destruction, flaunting my life to make him jealous – but after enough time, I realized that happy people don’t cheat, and a little bit of empathy for him grew in the place that had been filled with jealousy and rage.

I heard from someone much smarter than me that you can’t be mad at a person once you truly understand them, and when I was able to play back this part of my life and watch it like a movie, I felt bad for both of us. What helped me heal the most was realizing that I wasn’t an innocent bystander to a car crash. I was part of something that was going down and causing everyone involved to suffer. That realization helped me let go of the feeling of injustice that drove me crazy for so long.

I hope sharing about this is helpful because the message I mean to send is that we all suffer and hurt in the loneliest and scariest ways, but there is always light in the darkness. In some of the moments I thought my life was ruined, the biggest blessings were waiting just around the corner. It’s so important to keep hope alive no matter how awful things get.

And remember, we’re never in this alone. I kept my pain bottled up for a long time, but on the occasions I would bare my soul, people would open up to me about the wildest pain they had endured. Sharing creates a safe space to be seen without fear of being judged. It has helped me so much over the years to talk about my deepest fears and innermost pain, and I hope that sharing this chapter of my life helps even one person know that they’re not alone.


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