My Season of Hardship-A Non-Mutual Relationship Endin

No one can prepare you for the pain that follows a relationship ending that you didn’t see coming…” 

Philip K. Hardin 

On Christmas eve, my partner called me at 5:00 pm and said “Hey Slim, I’ll be there about 9:00, I have your gifts in the car, I love you and I’ll see you in a few hours. 

At 8:45, the phone rang, I answered, and he said, “I won’t be coming over, I’m ending our relationship, its over!”

No Warning!

No Explanation!

No Negotiating!

…and that was the beginning of my season of hardship. My story of being dumped.

The devastating way he ended it shattered me. The shock and the anguish paralyzed me, and my internal monologue screamed that I would never survive, I didn’t have the courage or the strength. I could not and would not go on! Decision made, I got into my car, planning to drive to a nearby highway and hit a cement abutment in as violent a way as was possible.

…and as so often happens in my life, the universe gently and wisely offered me an alternative. My daughter’s pink hair ribbon lay crumpled on the seat beside me…and in that moment, I knew my decision was wrong.

I returned to the house and called my best friend; she arrived within the hour and held me while I sobbed. I hobbled through the next few hours, days and weeks. That winter was the coldest I had ever experienced, and my   heart was as icy as the frigid weather.

As days passed, I experienced unrelenting humiliation, shame, betrayal, confusion and a vulnerability that, at times, left me breathless. 

About six weeks after the shock of his leaving, I began to feel rage and a desire for retaliation. I have since learned that revenge fantasies tend to emerge in the later stages of a trauma response. I stifled the desire to fill his gas tank with water or to key his precious car. I found humour and even laughter in some of the dark and crazy ideas I came up with to get back at him. I didn’t act, however, I managed to control myself and this was, paradoxically, empowering . I wasn’t a victim, and it was at this point that I began to lighten up and to heal.

That winter was one of the coldest I had ever experienced but my frozen heart and soul survived. It is only in retrospect that I can I say that my winter of hardship was another gift from the universe. In the care of my women friends (they were the wind beneath my wings), my wise therapist and group counselling support, I discovered courage, resilience and a desire to REDEFINE my life on my terms. I had no control over what had happened, but I did have control over how I responded. This was my opportunity to choose the future I wanted to create.

By April, as the warmth of the sun whispered to the flowers that it was time to emerge into the light again, I began to feel like living. The emergence of flowers in my garden was a metaphoric reminder that, like the changes that come with the new season, I had survived and was ready to re-engage fully in living. I did exactly that! I worked mindfully and actively to achieve a template for peace, tranquility and tenderness in who I am and in what I do.

My success in my personal and professional life are the legacies of my seasons of hardship.


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