If you're new here, you might consider going back to Part 1 of this series so you can really be in the know. But also, with this post in particular, it is a continuation of a story that I started telling in the last post. So, you might want to at least go back to the last post to read the beginning of this particular part of the story.
And as always, I tell these stories not as any kind of template for what I believe anyone else's story might look like. But, if we can take the bad in our lives, share it, and all learn from it in any way...that is a beautiful thing. That's why I'm here. Giving all these hard things that have happened a purpose...turning it into good. It's part of my healing process...and hopefully it can help others in some way too.
So, in this series I've told our overall story. In Part 16, I got to our lives (overall) present day. And now, starting last post, I'm making my way back through parts of our story elaborating on other things that happened to tell a more complete story and revealing many things from which we've learned a lot. Most of these things that I'm elaborating on now I did not even know about until Joel and I came back together in Sept. of 2014 and started working together to heal our marriage. These are things that happened over the course of time since January 2012.
In the last post I started telling the story of something that happened in Feb. 2014...the story of someone close to us (the wife of someone Joel has always been very close to) reaching out to me and showing interest in hearing my side of the story. At the end of the last post I had reached a certain part of our correspondence...and revealed that a couple of months (the end of March 2014) after that correspondence with her occurred, I found an email from her to Joel (which also included her husband...it was part of an ongoing mass email including all three of them) that had been written on the very same day that she was corresponding to me. Again, here is the email that I found:
hey joel. just wanted to let you know some stuff. i did send michawn a fb message over the weekend. i was pretty annoyed and was expecting her to get pissed and either not respond or to write back and tell me to butt out.It was incredibly appalling to find this email. As someone said in the comments when I shared the last blog post on Facebook, "Wow! I have never understood that way of doing things......To think someone would pretend to be one thing and then go behind your back and be another...I do not understand. On top of that, essentially speaking poorly of you to your spouse. That is not acceptable at any point!"
anyway, a dialogue started. she started with being super vague and telling me that i could ask whatever i wanted and she would let me know. i assured her that i wasn't trying to be nosey but was concerned. so she wrote me a lot
about what is going on. i wrote her back with a challenge to do her part. after this message who knows if she will write back! i just wanted to let you know that i wasn't planning on a back and forth conversation, but if she engages i
will continue to write with her and do what i can. i doubt that my messages will change her, but maybe i am another person…
just know, that i will not talk bad about you (don't even know what i would say!) and i will listen, validate her feeling and then try to hopefully get her to see her side in it all. i don't want things to be weird with anyone. if you want to know more details about
what we are saying..just ask. i am praying for you guys.
Keep in mind that before this correspondence in Feb. 2014, she and I had never talked about any of this before. And we hadn't talked at all (about anything) for almost a year at that point. Mostly it was our husbands that communicated...and it had always been like that. But, I still considered myself to be 'close' to them...a part of the group. Until I saw some true colors starting to eek out beginning in January 2012. We'll get to more of that later. But, these were the specific points I drew from this email from her to Joel:
"i was pretty annoyed and expecting her to get pissed..." - *why was she annoyed?!?* what had i done to her? was she just annoyed by the whole situation that joel and i were in...and her perception of it from what she had been told? or had i literally offended her in some way? she obviously already had her strong opinions about the situation if she was already annoyed when she wrote to me. that's not coming with an open mind and with a pure, genuine heart at all!As for Joel, he had actually asked them for their help in it all. He was glad that they were talking to me (although I had no idea he knew we were corresponding at the time). She wrote her email to him in the afternoon of Feb. 11th. And this was his reply to her that night:
"after this message who knows if she will write back!" - what kind of immature people does she have in her life that she would assume that i wouldn't write back? that's twice now that she had said that she didn't think i would write back or had her doubts that i would write back. ??
"i just wanted to let you know that i wasn't planning on a back and forth conversation..." - and here it is again. if she were writing to someone with genuine concern...and actually *wanting* to hear their side of the story and get to the bottom of things and to the truth...then she would not only plan and expect to hear back from them, she would HOPE for that. she would GO AFTER the truth. she wasn't planning to have a back and forth conversation with me? WHY NOT? was she just wanting to send me that first message and zing/sting me with her words or be the 'hero' that helped turn things around with her wisdom and experience contained in one little message? was that it? i'm pretty appalled that she just wanted to give me 'answers' or 'make me think' (or just sting me) or whatever it was that she was going for there...and didn't plan on having an actual conversation. very telling of her in general and the way she thought.
"...but if she engages i will continue to write with her and do what i can. i doubt that my message will change her, but maybe i am another person..." - 'do what i can'...yes, she already had her mind made up when she first wrote...and was definitely not really listening to what i had to say. had she actually listened and believed me...it is possible that she *could've* helped. instead of conveying to joel 'poor you, joel...your wife, wow...i'll do what i can...but i doubt i can change her'...instead of conveying that, she *could've* actually listened to what i said, been objective in the matter, and relayed *that* information to him (not that he hadn't heard it all before from me...but like she said...she was another person). instead, she was convinced already...before she even sent me that message...that there was something that she needed to do for/to me ('i'll do what i can') and that *i* was the one that needed to change ('i doubt that my message will change her').
"just know that i will not talk bad about you (don't even know what i would say!)" - yes, because joel was just being so very perfect. poor, poor joel...stuck with this wrong and stubborn, blinded-to-the-truth and ungodly wife. no, of course she wouldn't talk bad about him...but she'll jump at the chance to talk bad about his wife *to* him, behind her back...pretending to be so super sweet and open and genuine to her at the exact same time. she would talk about *her,* saying things that were just reinforcing the *wrong* belief in him that it was me that was being unreasonable and not understanding things.
Hey, Im glad for you to be conversing with Michawn. Talk all you want/can.Unfortunately, she was apparently so sure that he was doing nothing wrong (along with her husband who was in on the correspondence), and that I was just outright lying about our lives and the things that I saw him doing wrong, that she didn't bother to mention anything to Joel...even with him genuinely asking input from another person based on what I had to say. She shared nothing with him about what I had to say.
I really want another person’s take on our situation…..Please feel free to ask me anything because If Im wrong I am open to be corrected.
Blessings to you all
I replied on the 12th to her nice message she had sent me before her correspondence with Joel. I basically just re-iterated what I had said before, but in different ways. She had asked about counseling, so I told her about our experiences with that. She asked about the kids, so I let her know how they were doing. At the end I summed up that basically my heart was out. I said:
it's not that i want to separate or get a divorce. it's never been like that. because that would bring even more horrible problems, for the kids primarily. and i would never ever want to do that to them. but, at this point, my heart is out. joel acts like everything is just honky dory and i'm just being a brat. he does not get the gravity of everything that has gone down. soooooo many instances of him not being a husband to me. therefore now...my heart is gone. it's out. at this point, he would have to win back that heart that is completely not his anymore...because he didn't act like he wanted it anymore anyway, so it left so as not to get just completely pulverized. he would have to start over. but, it would be different this time...even harder to win my heart. because when we first met, i assumed the best from him. it was a clean slate. there's not a clean slate anymore. sure, there's forgiveness. but, there's damage. lots of it. the slate can be cleaned, but it's all shattered and broken. and he would have to repair that.She didn't bother replying to me next. Instead, she wrote to Joel again on the morning of the 14th:
it's me again.It's interesting to me how she said that I was set in my thinking. She was the one who came into our conversation with her thinking set (based on what Joel had been telling them for 2 years). No matter what I said during this correspondence, she had her mind made up about me. I mean, it was my life we were talking about, yet she had her mind made up about what was really going on...in my life...not listening to me or believing me when I was telling her my very own story about my very own life.
man joel, i have no idea what to tell you. i will keep talking to her, but i do not think it will do any good, as she seems very set in her thinking.
i'm praying for you guys...
Part of Joel's reply that night to her:
I appreciate you taking the time. The facts just don't add up.And the facts didn't add up. But he definitely wasn't even getting any facts from her. All of my baring of my soul to her, very graciously...and all she could do was badmouth me to Joel.
Let that sink in for a moment. Someone has been wounded deeply. Someone has been abandoned and mistreated badly for 2 years straight. That someone graciously and patiently bares her soul (at a time when, on top of everything else, has just gone through a very traumatic - emotionally and physically - loss of a baby days before) to someone who is saying that that they are concerned and care. Yet what they do in return is go behind her back and speak badly about her. Let's not just skip over that. Let it sink in.
She wrote me again the morning of the 15th, basically just telling me that I needed to do my part, that surely I had sinned and contributed in causing this all, and just basically 'encouraging' me to not give up but also being sure to let me know that I was wrong in how I was seeing it and needed to do more. She immediately emailed Joel again after she sent me that message (I love how everything is time-stamped now, ha, so I know the series of events and how this all went down).
She said, "i just replied to michawn and my guess is that i won't hear back." So crazy that she is so used to having 'conversations' with people who she actually never hears back from. Who are these people? lol. She went on to tell Joel that she had said some things to me that I probably had never heard before or thought of myself, but she just had to say these things.
The truth is that it was nothing I hadn't heard before. And, in my Type 4-ness (I don't get stuck in overthinking at all, but I do think very thoroughly and arrive very clearly at a view of the big picture), there was nothing that I hadn't already thought of myself anyway...thinking of things from all different angles, from all possible perspectives, etc. I had been living this for 2 years at that point...I had thought through all possible scenarios and causes.
Anyway, after I got her message, I knew that my work was done there. As I explained (to her) later:
i could tell after your last message to me that there was no point in going any further. you didn't really 'get it.' at that point, i had not seen your emails to joel. so, i had not seen your *real and true* heart behind your messages...and what you were *really* thinking. so, at this point, without the knowledge of your backstabbing emails, that was all i thought...that you just didn't get it. i saw you as a 'friend of job.' you got that there was an issue...and that there was something wrong. but, you were convinced that surely i had sinned and that had caused this...or surely i could do more, etc. etc.And then after I found her correspondence with Joel, I was really just super shocked. My experience with people like this personally in my life has been very, very limited. Honestly, I don't even remember it ever happening with anyone I know personally...truthfully. But, I'll just be gracious and say that maybe it happened in elementary school or something...I just don't remember it. So, it was an eye-opener to see that people still behaved this way, even in their 30s and 40s. What was even more eye-opening was the fact that they didn't seem to think there was a problem with it. You'll hear more about that later.
those things weren't true...but, it became clear in your messages to me (esp. the last one) that there would be no convincing you otherwise. so, i decided to just graciously move on and bow out.
let me speak to the whole 'it takes two' belief system for just a minute...since you seem to be a bit hung up on that. the truth is that 'it takes two' just does not always apply. does it take two to make a marriage successful? yes. but, it only takes ONE to destroy a marriage. this is just fact. it's super sad...but it's true.
Because of who they were in our lives, after Joel and I came back together Sept. 1, 2014, I knew that after we had some time to just hunker down and figure things out a bit those first couple of weeks, we would have to address this and start working toward reconciliation with this couple. Reconciliation doesn't come by just saying you're sorry and moving on...that might work when you step on someone's toe accidentally or something. But, with something this substantial and this on-going, there has to be some major discussion about what happened, what was said, the attitudes and beliefs that were cultivated, etc. There has to be explanations given on both sides. So, Joel originally breached the subject of how we had come back together and how we wished to start working toward reconciliation. There was some reluctance. So, mid-September I personally sent an email out to start addressing some of the things that had happened specifically...this email was about, and included, all of our correspondence...and the emails between them and Joel that I had found. It was time to do the work of reaching reconciliation and I was hopeful in starting a dialogue with them.
I'll let you know the rest of the story about how that went, along with more details of how we arrived at the point of being ready to reconcile and some of the things we said exactly, soon. But, first, next time I'll start sharing about another couple who was 'speaking into Joel's life' throughout these years as well. I'll share some of the 'help' Joel got from them.
As you can see...many factors here led to the almost-demise of our marriage. It's truly a miracle we survived at all. We have LOTS of battle wounds. LOTS. I'm thankful we're recovering and healing from these wounds. There will always be scars...but we will eventually get to a point where the scars will no longer be tender, and we'll look at them and be grateful for what those wounds meant in our lives, and how much we learned from them. I honestly can't imagine being 'grateful' for anything concerning this all...right now I just wish it never happened honestly. But I know that time will come eventually.
...Over the next few weeks, you'll continue to hear more about what caused all of these wounds, how we dealt with those things, what we've learned, and how we've moved on.