Something I’ve never admitted (even to myself) –
When my ex left, I was relieved.
Not right away. At first, I felt like I was breaking apart. Each breath singed my open and bleeding heart. I felt like I was gasping for air and grasping for a hold on reality. I was fractured and frightened.
But later? Once the wounds scabbed over a bit and I began to feel confident that I would survive?
I was relieved.
It wasn’t an emotion I expected to feel. In fact, I didn’t even accept as an emotion I did feel. On every conscious level, I loved and trusted that man with every fiber of my being.
But maybe on some deeper level, I was aware I was on a sinking ship.
A craft that I trusted to be whole and intact but instead had developed some fatal breach in its hull, obscured beneath the waters of awareness.
I lost everything. Yet in some ways I was relieved to be free of the life I had worked so hard for.
I loved him. Yet in some ways I was relieved he was gone from my life for good.
I faced immense pain and suffering. Yet in some ways I was relieved of the anxiety that had been growing beneath.
Maybe the relief was just my brain’s way of trying to wrest some control over the tsunami barreling down at me. Maybe the relief came from facing my biggest fear and still standing after the confrontation. Maybe I was relieved that the worst I could imagine was over and it could only get better from there. Perhaps it was the relief felt upon waking from a nightmare, the sweaty sheets revealing the anguish released during the night. Maybe it was like the relief felt after a good cry, emotions spent and endorphins moving in. Maybe it was the release of tension that I didn’t realize was building. Perhaps the relief came in an acceptance. A letting go after working so long to hold to him. Or maybe it was my intuition, discounted for so long, finally breaking through.
Who knows why I felt a release? I do know that I felt ashamed for feeling relieved. Guilty, as though I was somehow feeling something wrong.
The truth is that emotions are messy and complicated. What we dismiss as irrational is often anchored in some truth, even if we cannot tease out the connections.
Relief is more than something we feel upon release, it is also a special type of carving that removes the unwanted material to create a dimensional image upon a backdrop.
I think the relief I felt was the removal of the unwanted falsehoods, letting my life and my self stand out yet again.