Vol. 2 No. 4
not grateful, but ...
Have you ever heard a friend say she was grateful for something horrible? It's unexpected. You can't grasp how something bad could possibly have a positive connotation. And, yet it seems to be the new norm. I think Michelle Fredman explains it best in her post This is Why I'm Grateful for Cancer:
"I am grateful for cancer because before my diagnosis I was asleep. I was stuck
inside a narrative of 'if only … ' I was waiting for life to happen to me, instead of
realizing that it was happening right now, right in front of me, everywhere I looked. Getting sick was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, and yet at the same time
the best thing that has ever happened to me because it woke me up."
The Internet is flooded with gratitude and appreciation for illnesses, addictions, struggles, strife and disturbances in life. Psychologists believe this is because we are still capable of focusing on the positive–even in the most trying and depressing times.
My former relationship with a sex addict was absolutely a trying and depressing time. I fumbled through it blindly because very little was known; help wasn't readily available. And although I am in a better place, I don't think I can say I'm grateful to have been in a relationship with a sex addict.
The dictionary defines grateful as: feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful. Thankful is defined as: pleased and relieved.
Those words don't ring true. I am not pleased with the fact that my ex watched pornography, called 900 numbers, and had affairs. I am not happy about the fact that my self-esteem plummeted and I was consumed with an animalistic rage that took me years to overcome. In no way, shape or form am I relieved about any aspect of my experience.
How could I possibly be appreciative of the heartache, turmoil and devastation; the disappointment, horror or even shame I endured; a failed relationship? The honest answer is that I'm not. I'm not grateful for any of those things, but ...
I think that when something shatters, you have a chance to put it together in new–and often better–ways. My life as I knew it shattered. It imploded and I suffered greatly. But, I put it back together one piece at a time.
I do not believe I would be who I am today without that experience. As devastating and traumatic as it was, it molded me into someone I truly like. I am grateful for how I've grown. I'm thankful for everything I've learned. I appreciate the opportunities that experience has created. I am EXCITED to use that pain and anguish to help others.
For the first time in my life, I am on the right path. And for that, I am immensely grateful.
Traci is a Betrayal Recovery Specialist and the owner of Healing Betrayed Hearts. She has almost 30 years experience recovering from a relationship with a sex addict.