The Thriver’s Club

thriver's club

Days after my tsunami divorce, my mom turned to me and told me I would survive.

I actually got angry and responded rather strongly, “No, I will not survive. I will thrive. To do anything less is to remain his victim.”

I saw surviving as the bare minimum; the mere intake of breath and food in order to go through the motions of life. I refused to settle for that. I wanted more. It felt insurmountable, yet the vision and hope remained intact.

I know many of you have that same spirit. That same dogged determination to not just exist, but to live loudly and with joyous exuberance. To prove that when life knocks you down, you do not just have to stand up again. You can jump up and dance and sing from the rooftops. That desire to live fully and passionately despite the pains of the past.

spirit

And so I introduce to you The Thriver’s Club.

A place to celebrate life after loss.

A place to share our joys and triumphs.

A place to bring hope to those still trying to find their way.

There are no annual dues. No special handshakes. No one is denied entry due to age or gender or religious beliefs.

In order to be a member, all you have to do is share one example of how you have thrived after divorce.

It can small or grand. A sign of truly moving on or as fleeting as a moment where the sun broke through the clouds.

Don’t be shy; smiles are meant to be shared not hidden away.

Welcome to The Thriver’s Club.

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52 responses to “The Thriver’s Club

  1. Pingback: Introducing the Thriver’s Club | Lessons From the End of a Marriage·

  2. I am not yet divorced. Complications preventing that for the time being. However I am moving forward with the help of a great therapist or two, supportive friends and family and desire to be better than ever before. I am studying Buddhism and applying it’s lessons to my healing. I find refuge in many a meetup group, my art and photography. As well as my two new kittens who add a flurry of excitement to my daily life. I am thriving also because of the community of others like you, who truly understand what it’s like to be deeply betrayed by a “loved one.” Life is forever changed. But I refuse to let it crumble me. I will build a wonderful foundation on which to grow a better life for myself. Thank you

    • I love how you are finding creative outlets to express yourself. What a wonderful way to bring beauty to the world! I have also found so much wisdom in the teachings Buddhism; I love the focus on acceptance. I’m so glad you have the support of others. I’m sure you help them as well.

      Thanks for sharing your smiles:) Give those kittens a nuzzle for me!

  3. Moving past survival and learning to thrive has been a long journey, but I’m with you, survival was a necessity through difficult circumstances. (For myself and many through dangerous circumstances.) Being able to live on the other hand was what I really wanted for myself. My favorite quote is “Everybody dies but not everyone lives.” -Cross the Line by Superchic[k] I want to be someone who lives.

  4. “Lessons..” I like that, it immediately changed the feeling from victim to survivor, and now this challenge, pushes further to Thriver!

    My divorce gave me the opportunity to lose enough so that my dysfunctional rug could be pulled well out of reach.

    I was not a happy healthy person for myself, I was not fully present for my children, I was not a fully loving wife, I was not living the best life I could, I was squandering the gift of my life, hidden and afraid to really embrace life and live it. I lacked the courage to truly love.

    I am thriving now by learning the very tough lesson of love, real genuine generous enriching and fulfilling love. I’m finding my courage, I’m finding my real self, I am building my faith, and I am cherishing my heart.

    Thank you for creating a place of strength, healing and discovery.

  5. Yes. I am also a thriver and also recognize the tsunami that began two years ago for me. I didn’t realize it would begin the start of a personal development journey for me. One that included – going back to work, learning to be a better parent, living on my own, finding daily joys again, connecting with old and new friends, being present, rediscovering myself, running, losing weight (literally and figuratively), learning to trust and remain open, discovering healing and joy through writing and nature. I’ve learned to find my supports and the things that make me thrive. “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she became a beautiful butterfly.” – proverb. The journey continues. :)

    • Awesome image with the proverb! And so true, when we look at a single moment, the world can appear to be over yet the bigger picture reveals the beauty yet to come.

      I hope you’ve been able to get your nature fix this winter! I know I’ve grabbing every warmish moment outside that I can!

      Here’s to happy thriving!

  6. I had to hit rock bottom before leaving my tsunami marriage. From there I have reminded myself I can only look up to get out! I am still married but closer to the day a divorce will be final. I have been on this journey for little over a year. The things that I’ve done to thrive during this time is I allowed myself to grieve, stopped abusing crutches (mine was alcohol), learned to love myself while forgiving him, meditating and exercising regularly. I had to set aside my pride and accept help from family and friends. Without them, without accepting help, I believe I would have stayed at rock bottom longer than I can imagine! Another saying to pass along, “This too, is temporary.” It has become my mantra.

    • Love your emphasis on the importance of accepting help. It can so difficult to do, but it is so critical. I also like your point of no longer relying on crutches to numb and distract. That is certainty a huge victory! And, thank you for continuing what seems to be a theme of sharing a mantra. And, yes, it is temporary.

      Keep climbing!:)

  7. It is still so fresh, still so new. I am only just now learning how to actually share the bed with only myself, how to not tear up when a song reminds me or the smell of something pushes me over the edge. This hasn’t stopped me though from telling myself I am worthy of a date with myself, opening the door and taking myself out to things I love and haven’t enjoyed for many years.

    Dinner and concert (Leon Russell), it didn’t matter I was alone I was great company.

    The Dance Company of Harlem, ballet is one of my first great loves so great seats and again great company.

    Finally, I took the step to begin divorce proceedings. This was a terrible step for me, hard and horrifying. I felt a great weight lifting.

    • I’m proud of you. I know it’s hard. I am so glad to hear of your successes. They’re small in scope yet huge in meaning. Can’t wait to hear of more ways that you’re thriving:)

  8. My story can’t compare to your Tsunami Lisa, it’s more like a Teahupoo wave ;-) : heavy barrel on a shallow sharp coral reef…. you know the waves keep coming and you know someone will get hurt, sooner or later. A lot was wrong for a very long time in a subtle way, before my husband started going behind my back and I know that’s where the “real” problem lies. The “discovery” is fairly recent and I know it will be a long way towards proper healing, however (as you describe in your latest post) “clarity” was a godsend. I filed for divorce on an impulse after months of gaslighting and was completely lost. I have no idea how I got through those first few weeks if not because I just “had to” as I am the sole carer of my 3 little girls. And then I forced myself to get organised, not filling my days up too much but making sure there was always one little thing I looked forward to: a coffee, a chat, the gym, I started running again, I had to force myself to pay attention to my girls as often I would get caught in my own unhealthy thoughts, I’ve been out a few nights. Things are far from being “right” but every morning I wake up with a smile: I kiss my girls good morning (and then proceed to yell at them to hurry ;-)) make myself a cappuccino, and head off for the school run where one particular (single) dad has made me smile almost every day – it’s an innocent flirt but that is much better than the grief I carried inside for the past 1, 2, 3 years – I still haven’t been able to soul search deep enough.

    • Love the other wave analogy:)

      You are so smart to focus on those little victories each day. They are key to surviving the early stages of loss. Embrace those smiles and embrace those girls!

  9. It’s been about two and a half years since my tsunami divorce. I definitely hit some rough patches along the way, but I’m thriving now. I have my own place, support myself, got a new dog, finished another 30 credits beyond my Masters Degree, enrolled in a PhD program, started a new AP course at my school, traveled to France, Prague and the Caribbean and have applied for a grant to travel to Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands, reconnected with old friends, took up knitting, and have a great boyfriend. Actually, until I listed all of those things now, I didn’t realize how much I’ve accomplished in the two and a half years since my world fell apart. I still have my moments, but there is hope and I am thriving now.

    • “Actually, until I listed all of those things now, I didn’t realize how much I’ve accomplished in the two and a half years since my world fell apart.”

      That was my plan and hope for this page. To realize and then celebrate how far you’ve come:)

      I think I need to be a stowaway in your luggage!

  10. Hooray for the Thriver’s Club! Wahoo! I’m actually laughing to myself because I just posted about this topic today: “Why I’m Not Afraid…” (http://wp.me/p4dj0e-8R) How interesting that I should happen upon your blog only moments later! :)

    I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if I hadn’t gone through my own personal hell. Although … I don’t think I can give the divorce all the credit. Staying through 9 years of addiction and 5 years of adultery definitely contributed to my personal growth.

    I’ve had mountains to climb, and I’ve scaled them. I’ve been shattered, abused, and betrayed … but I’m here to talk about it. I’ve chosen to make my heavy burdens into a weightlifting exercise, and it’s paying off. And now I’m helping other betrayed women by sharing treasures I’ve found in the midst of all the muck.

    My trauma led me to my life’s calling … in a big way. I’ve led anti-porn campaigns on college campuses, trained as a sponsor in a 12-step program, and had articles published all over the web. Right now, I’m admin on a private forum for more than 500 betrayed wives and am working with the National Coalition on Sexual Exploitation on some pretty amazing projects, including a conference coming up in D.C. in May.

    Am I grateful for the trauma? I don’t know about that. But I sure am grateful for the personal transformation I’ve experienced in the wake of it. I’ve found I can transform anger into passion for a good cause. It’s a much better use of my energy! :)

    Wow … I’m re-reading and thinking I sound pretty boastful and arrogant. Not really what I was going for. Haha. Oh, well. Let’s call it ‘empowered’ instead, huh? (now exiting soapbox)

    • Empowered. Absolutely. Reading this made me smile. You’ve turned some compost into some beautiful trees whose growth will shelter and support others. And that’s what it’s all about.

      I love your response to being grateful for the wake of the trauma but not necessarily the trauma itself. I completely relate.

      Welcome to The Thriver’s Club and thanks for sharing!!

      • Thank YOU for creating a positive space like this, for being who you are, and for all the work you do. And thanks for challenging us to take the good from all the muck. You rock.

  11. I truly love your blog, your writing, and your honesty. Thank you for being such a wonderful inspiration to those of us who have, and are going through this.

  12. It’s been 3 1/2 years since my “tsunami” divorce. After 29 years of marriage, 2 grown children, you imagine a life of rediscovering the couple you once were. Though I am focusing my energy on positive things (back in college) and people that add to my life, I must admit that the hurt is still there, beneath the surface, waiting for me to let my guard down. “Gray Divorce”, amazing how quickly we find a label to make some sense of this. I put on a brave face everyday. The challenges of divorce in your sixties are intensified; finances or lack of, new relationships, attractiveness, etc. To many I have it all figured out. But the truth still overwhelms me. I dedicated my life to others and now I’m only responsible for me. That statement can be at the same time sad or liberating. Some days one or the other. What is my future me all about? Will I ever trust anyone with my heart? Working on finding the answers…

  13. I’m divorced about 4 months but separated about 2 and a half years.
    How have I thrived?
    I learned to cook – and guess what, I’m really good! Everything I make tastes amazing and because I’m not living with a meat eater anymore I make amazing vegetarian food (not that I am a veggie, just trying it out) and have discovered a deep love of Middle Eastern food (which I make really well too!).
    I am GREAT at being alone. I literally dance around my house (which is going to be repossessed /foreclosed because he’s not contributing to the mortgage and I can’t pay it alone) because I am so happy he’s not there. I get in my socks and skate on the floorboards. I sing when I do MY dishes. I laugh out loud if I see something funny on a TV programme that I want to watch. I smirk when I wash my clothes because I don’t need to get rid of any man stains on boxer shorts. I learned that I can climb into the attic, put out the bins, mow the garden and carry heavy stuff. Was it easy? No. But I did it!
    And I learned that my crazy family are the key to my success. They’ve helped me cry. They’ve threatened to go to Australia to kick the shit out of my ex. They made me cakes. They exercise with me. They helped me figure out how to work the damn lawn mower. They give me their children to play with.
    It’s still tough, but I will keep going, because the rewards of figuring out who I am and only having truth in my life are very very worth it.

  14. Forced to languish in limbo for six months after he left me, being given false hope he might choose to return, I am now two months past his filing to end our 26 year marriage, and I’m still trying to find my way. However, almost simultaneous with his filing, I have had nothing but success and opportunity in an area of my life that I love–my community theater passion. After a season of inactivity, I have had back-to-back-to-back opportunities to stay busy either directing or acting in productions in a variety of local community theaters. And I have upcoming opportunities to keep me busy until almost the end of this year! This has been my true passion since I was a very young girl, and it’s been a wonderful blessing to be reminded of just who I really am and what I truly love to be at this time when my identity is so shaken.

  15. Where do I start with this journey…oh so much has changed for the better since I said “well there’s the f@cking front door” 2 years ago. I am happily divorced and loving single life with my 2 gorgeous kids. I absolutely Thrived through it. Sure, I wasn’t in a good place when it ended, suffering anxiety and depression, but that cloud lifted pretty quickly. Only a few short months after the split friends commented all the time, wow you look so good and happy now. To cut a long story short, I felt within me that I had to share my journey with other like minded women, in order to help them be able to get through this challenging time, and I pretty much had no family around me, only some friends. Gratitude to them xx I then started a business called Suddenly Single Holidays, which I take women to Las Vegas to have fun and guide them to find their sparkle again, to have fun again and live!!! Thanks for allowing this share and thank you to the other women for sharing their story also. x Ren

  16. I just read: Why I Hate the Term “Affair-Proof” on Huffington I had to do a double take because JUST TODAY a very cute guy asked me the typical, “Why are you single?” ice breaker question.

    Answer: Because my husband did not deserve me and therefore his privileges were revoked.

    Sorry, but I had to give myself one of those rare ATTA GIRL pats on the back.

  17. Fifteen months later and I am still grieving. When my husband left, I was Peter Pan without his shadow, Rose without Jack, I felt like Forrest Gump and just wanted to “Run Forrest Run”. I couldn’t make sense of anything. Literally one day we are on a family vacation in Disney and the next the boy’s and I find out my husband is having an affair with his 22 year old assistant.

    After I confronted him, he left. I curled in a ball and sobbed like a baby. My mom stayed with me for a month to see me through the immediate trauma. I was in denial. I could not believe the man that I pledged my life to could have changed so drastically. I needed to understand what happened. I needed to know why after everything, NOW he leaves. We only have four years left before all our boys are gone. Then we are free to date, travel, whatever we want. Instead, he now lived with a girl six-weeks younger than our oldest son!

    I grieved the death of my marriage. I grieved the death of my family. I grieved the dream I had for my family. I grieved for the man I once knew and loved. I have “groundhog” grieving. As with a human death, there is finality, with the death of a marriage there isn’t. You are forced to continue to deal with that person. It is like reliving their death every day.

    I have the daunting task of being mother, father, handy man, accountant, maid, the whole kit and caboodle. I was not sure I was up for the task. Still crying I would tell them we are going to be okay. How were they supposed to be okay if I am not okay?
    I wasn’t happy with the turn of events in my life. In fact “not happy” didn’t begin to describe my emotional free fall. Devastated. Petrified. Paralyzed. Lost. Angry. Disbelief. Even somewhat crazed. Life still moved on. I still cried. Like a tornado warning, you take cover and hope for this best. The tornado blazing through my life was wide and like a tropical depression it was determined to hover. I felt like I was standing outside of myself, a spectator in someone else’s horror story. I was losing my husband, my in laws and my dream. I wanted to break the generational curse of divorce but instead I was perpetuating it.

    After nearly a year, I analyzed all the reasons I would still be crying. My tear ducts were broken? I hadn’t cried in so long I had to make up for lost time. I couldn’t accept reality? I couldn’t accept my dream was gone? I truly loved and missed my husband.
    So far I can do all things but two:
    1. Forget that I Love You.
    2. Forget that you no longer love me.
    Knowing when to walk away, is Wisdom. Being able to do it, is Courage. Walking away with our head held high, is Dignity.
    I am striving for Dignity and Grace. My journey is filled with unknowns and uncertainties, but this I know for sure; God is for us, who one can be against us? I am not a victim of circumstance but a victor!

  18. I am thriving by showing my children what strength and determination are; by choosing to believe I will find a love I can trust; by finding alignment with my purpose and creating a career and life I love.

    I no longer seek any kind of retribution from him (emotional or otherwise), because that would keep me his victim.

    I thrive because that is what I was meant to do.

    Love your writing.
    xoxoxo

  19. Peace, is that too much to ask?

    Will my daughters and I ever live in peace free from my estranged husbands propensity for selfishness, and sense of entitlement no matter who it hurts?

    It’s all I think about. For over a year now.

    BRILLIANT ANSWER:
    I no longer seek any kind of retribution from him (emotional or otherwise), because that would keep me his victim.

    Can it be that simple? I absolutely believe it can!!!

    THANK YOU!!!

      • Ok I was told this afternoon I can pick up the girls Friday 7 PM at his residence and return them Sunday at 7 PM at his residence. This is my husband’s townhouse he shares with his fiancé and her dog. (their is no such thing as dog support so I have custody of the dog he brought home one day) People and animals are easily disposable and replaced in his world, and that must be so confusing to those little girls.

        There is no peace when you find your self already shaking thinking about this custody exchange. There is no peace when you make the decision to start the process of standing up to him and taking BECAUSE it is the right thing. We just are NOT THERE YET. It is like the perfect storm brewing. I am not catering to his tactics of intimidation any more. It is not a step forward, it is a vortex of conflict and he’s trying to suck me right in. The girls are better off staying put than be used as pawns to hurt their mommy. So this was my response to my attorney and as heartbreaking as it is I am not backing down. There will be repercussions (not legally), but there are always consequences. But I am ready now. 3 more weeks and he will have a lot to answer for in court.

        This is my position on his demands:

        Karen,
        I am not comfortable with the exchange being at Kevin’s residence. Not even a little bit. He has a proven record of open hostility, verbal abuse and physical abuse directly at me on have multiple occasions and in the presence of the girls.

        Furthermore, he is the one who relocated 40 minutes away. Please trust that I am not trying to cause conflict for the sake of causing conflict. WE ARE JUST NOT THERE. I realize that I am essentially forfeiting my time with the girls. I firmly believe it will be in their best interest to avoid such a unknown and highly stressful exchange.

        For everyone’s sake I am proposing we maintain an ounce of security and consistency by planning exchanges to be made at a neutral location. Kevin insisted that the YWCA to facilitate visitation and I complied. It is a proven non-conflict zone. It is a valuable resource and I would like to continue to use their services. They will facilitate and monitor custody exchanges. I am going to ask that Kevin continue what he started and be agreeable to this. It seems to me to the next best step here.

        Please advise,
        Amanda

      • You can’t change him. Even when he’s being unreasonable.
        It may not be fair and when you’re a parent, it’s even harder because you hurt for the kids and want what’s best for them. But you still can’t change him and his responses.

        Peace comes with that acceptance. Not approval of his choices, but an understanding that it is his way. Be the best you and the best parent you can be regardless of what he does. Learn when it’s time to fight (and yeas, sometimes that is the best response) and when it’s not a worthy battle.

        As long as your well-being is tied to his actions, peace will be elusive. Work on being okay regardless. And I know, that is much easier said than done. Time helps provide some cushioning for the anger and gives some perspective that softens the blows.

        Hugs, lady.

  20. My trauma doesn’t involve a divorce, but betrayal just the same.
    I am also committed to thriving as a way of taking back my life.
    Good for you to speak your story, and encourage others to do so as well.

  21. Remember the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, where the slow-moving tortoise beats the hare in a race because he makes steady progress, while the overly confident hare takes his time, making and breaking the rules each and every turn.

    I am finding strength in this silly little tale. Believe in yourself even when you stumble (we are all going to stumble from time to time). It is easy to doubt yourself and find yourself feeling someone else will get the best of you.

    I am learning that as long as I keep going, and as long as I keep believing, and as long as I make steady (as slow as it may seem) progress I stand an excellent chance of being the first one with two feet firmly planted on the brighter side.

  22. He walked out three months ago. I came up fighting, which shocked the hell out of both of us. I picked up the pieces. I moved my family out of there to a place that felt safe. I got an awesome hair cut. I took up martial arts. I ran. I got back into school. I came up with a five-year plan. I made bounderies. I held him to bounderies. I leaned on the love of my mother and my sister. I discovered my power, my strength, my flexibility, my intelligence, my courage, my warmth, my wit. I discovered leverage. I protected my daughters. I showed them that their mama is a warrier. I grieve. I let myself have bad days. I remind myself that I am worthy. I deserve more. I keep running. I come up fighting.

  23. I’m not legally divorced quite yet, though the papers are with the courts and there’s nothing standing between me and a ruling.
    The problems started after we’d been married for 11 months, together for nearly 5 years. One day he turned to me and told me he didn’t think he was in love with me. Three months later, after being laid off from my job and losing my grandfather, he told me with finality that he wanted a divorce. I packed up my life into a single car and drove 900 miles home.
    It was a struggle at first. I do believe I was only surviving. I was denied unemployment benefits and with my resources dwindling, I found myself humbled, working a minimum-wage job in order to get by.
    But in October, I found a job. It was the first of many things that have helped me regain a sense of independence. Soon, I will be moving back out on my own again. I’ve started making plans to run my very first Tough Mudder next year. I’ve started writing poetry again, after almost 7 years of silence.
    More importantly, I’ve finally started the process of reclaiming my healing and my happiness. I’ve begun to forgive him — not for him, but for me. I’m learning things about myself that I never really knew or addressed before. I’ve finally been able to take a step back from alcohol and nicotine in order to get a really good look at myself. It’s scary, but it feels… freeing.
    I thrive because he no longer controls how I see myself or my future. I don’t walk on eggshells anymore. I have the opportunity to surround myself with people who will love & respect me the way he never could. When life as I knew it fell away, I saw it not as the end, but as a beginning to something over which I have complete control: my life, my happiness, my future.

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