Sunday, March 22, 2015

Joel. Michawn. {Part 18 - Two-Faced and Backstabbing}

Sorry...but I couldn't think of a better title for this one that would accurately describe this part of the story.  lol.  I promise I'm not bitter, hahaha.  (shoulder shrug)  This is the most accurate description and I truly couldn't think of a better one, even though it sounds all harsh and in your face.  Annnnyway...

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 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.
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.
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!" 

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!

"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 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. 
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: 
Hey, Im glad for you to be conversing with Michawn. Talk all you want/can.

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

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 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 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.
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...
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 my life...not listening to me or believing me when I was telling her my very own story about my very own life.  

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. 

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.
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.

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. 


Mrs. VK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michawn said...

thank you for your comment. and i appreciate your concern. honestly, i think that anyone who can read our *whole* story and think that grace has not been shown in abundance here doesn't have the same definition of 'grace' as i do. i am not someone who is motivated or led by emotion...what motivates me and leads me along in my actions are the facts about a situation. therefore, as i'm writing this, i am writing from *my* i should, since it's *my* story. ;) so in writing from my perspective, i'm just basically reporting the facts of what happened here. what went wrong. it is 'plain writing' as you say...because that is my perspective. very plain...very 'these are the what are we going to do about it? and what can we learn from it?' type thing. but, for you to see a lack of just makes me think that your definition is much different than mine.

for me to even still be here in this marriage shows more grace than you even have to be shown to prove the lack of grace question unwarranted. :) the fact that i stuck around through all of these 3 years and the neglect and my husband going to others instead of actually being a friend to me and listening to me and believing me and caring for me...that is huge grace. and while perfection is never part of the deal with any human being, i know what our marriage was like for the first decade (and i’ve written about that in great detail in this series and on my blog in general). so, i know that there was a very definite turning point. a point in which there was a change. there was unquestioning grace for that (for that change in behavior…for that *bad* behavior) for a long period of time. as in, years.

but, when there is a very destructive pattern…a *way of life* that has developed that is against what the very Bible teaches and is destroying your family…what is often given in response to this and often seen as ‘grace’ is actually an *enabling.* i am many things, but an enabler is not one of them…esp. when it is destroying my family. grace and mercy were given freely…for years. if you’ve read the full story here, you’ll see the beginning of our timeline…the year 2012 and first half of 2013 where i just literally thought that joel was having a ‘glitch’ of some kind…he had never acted like this…and i fully believed that he was just going to snap out of it at just any moment. and i was hanging on until that happened. you’ll see that how, after that, i still hung on, but it was getting scarier by the day…and i began to come to the devastating conclusion that he wasn’t just going to ‘snap out of it’…but that this was a permanent fixture (joel's new attitude and outlook and way of being…his new way of treating me). we are starting to dive down more into the *whys* of all of that and how that occurred here with my facts and plain writing…for now, we’re still in the ‘this is what happened’ setting-the-stage-to-discuss-the-whys phase. again, if you can look at the ‘this is what happened’ + the fact that i’m still here with my husband and not conclude that there has been an exorbitant amount of grace shown here…then honestly i don’t know what else to say.

Michawn said...

but, back to the grace vs. enabling —> when there is a continuous destructive pattern being shown and that pattern shows no signs of relenting, there comes a time when you have to decide if you are going to enable that behavior or not. i chose (after a few years of it), and choose now, not to enable it. i read a sermon recently that included this quote: ~People can easily grab hold of the concept of grace, but any call to “obedience” is labeled as “legalism” that is contrary to the gospel. It’s like they either forget or don’t acknowledge the part where Jesus said to the adulteress, “go, and from now on sin no more.”~

substitute ‘legalism’ there for your ‘wives often expect perfection from their husbands’ quote. i find that when anyone ‘gets caught’ doing something, if they don’t truly have a repentant heart, the most used response is ‘well, i’m not perfect.’ which is, in my view, just a ridiculous statement. we all know that nobody is perfect. therefore, it is ridiculous to think that one can be perfect or act perfectly. therefore, it is ridiculous to try to state the obvious as a defense of yourself and your actions. but…we also know that when one has truly seen something they’ve been doing as wrong, when they truly repent, they *turn* from that wrong way and walk in a different way. they are to ‘go and sin no more’ in that area. does it mean they will never ever slip up in that area again? hopefully they won’t…esp. if it’s something like adultery or neglect. it *is* possible to *not* slip up. but, even if they do slip up, it is most definitely never ever a *pattern* in their life again.

we *really* need to work on our definitions within Christianity. the picture of grace in the Bible is never one of enabling bad behavior. grace is shown. a lot. but, continually allowing a destructive pattern is not grace-filled at all. “go…and sin no more.”

after typing all of that, i just did a google search on this area. i found this post to be very interesting and dead on. love this quote from it: "Grace gives room to grow, mature and heal. Grace does not give permission to continue in sin.”

i’m all about grace. but, enabling will never happen here.

thank you so much for your well wishes. with grace (*not* enabling) AND 'going and sinning no more' in this area :)...we will prayerfully, yes, have a wonderful, happy marriage for the rest of our days.

Mrs. VK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. VK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michawn said...

actually, you said that i was in need of showing my husband grace and mercy. and that is exactly what i addressed. if that is not what you meant to say, ok…but, that is actually what you said. ;)

for the people who know me in real life, the questions that you bring up are not anything that i hear. not even close. because they know me…outside of just a blog. therefore, these things are non-issues to them. so, that should maybe answer your questions on some level. but, for those who read this and do not know me outside the blog, i will of course address your comments.

again, nobody is perfect. but, what we are addressing with this blog series is what happened to us. where it all went wrong. and what caused it all. unfortunately, in this instance, it was a very specific turning point…and the turning was done by my husband. i did not turn. now…having said that…again, no one is without fault. as far as day-to-day, every-marriage issues, sometimes it is joel that screws up and sometimes it is me. those are the easy things. those were the only things that we had to deal with for the first decade of our marriage. but, we are specifically talking about, here in this blog series, the thing that happened *after* that first decade of marriage. the thing that turned the tide. sadly, that had nothing to do with me and i had no control in that matter.

no, he did not commit adultery. for that i am thankful. but, i was speaking to a friend of mine who *has* lived through adultery…and so very much more in marriage (incredibly hard things in her adult life). i said, ‘look, i know that he didn’t cheat…’ and she stopped me cold. she said, ‘yes, michawn…but it’s still betrayal on a very deep level. you were betrayed…not sexually, but in every other way. so, actually, it is very much the same.’ and i just teared up. she, who has actually experienced adultery…she totally got it! she knows the whole story here. the whole story that i have yet to get to on the blog. so, maybe that will answer some of your questioning too. but, no…it wasn’t adultery. but it was not only neglect…but a deep betrayal.

because i have the full story, which you do not yet…when someone says something like ‘yes, but what did *you* do wrong to cause all of this?’…that’s like saying to the wife who was cheated on (adultery), ‘yes, but what did *you* do to cause him to cheat?’

also, because i have the full story, yes…i *can* see the big picture. you do not see the big picture yet…because i haven’t shared it yet. i do not think that what i am going through is the worst. nor do i think that you are not appreciating my pain. i think you just speak in ignorance…and please do not take that as an insult. you just simply don’t know me outside the blog and possibly even just this blog series (which is very different than the rest of my blog). and…maybe you just don’t have the patience that other people have to really wait to see where this is all going.

there is a point. the history has to be laid out first. the series of events has to be given. and then we can move into what it all means…and what went wrong. because it *is* a ‘big picture’ thing that went wrong. it wasn’t just joel taking a wrong turn. but, WHY did he take that turn? these are the kinds of questions we are going to answer…as i’ve stated all along. we’re going after *root* issues here…that are very deeply planted.

do we still have to deal with the everyday failings of man…and woman…husbands and wives? yes. but, again...what we are addressing with this blog series is something different. a turning point. and why it happened in the first place.

and btw, my husband did not betray me sexually, but i very much have protected him, and others, in this blog series. so for those who think that i’ve been hard on people here…if you only knew the full story and details, you would see that i’m being very, VERY gracious here. very.

Mrs. VK said...

Believe me, I don't blame the wife for the husband's faults. Every man and woman has a free will and will stand before God for themselves.
This reply helps a lot. Even if there are some things I may or may not agree with or still question, I'm willing to be quiet and let you share as you get to it. I know I'm ignorant of you and your life story. No problem accepting that. ;) I'm sure all who know you can understand what you are saying much better, even if they don't know the story.

Mrs. VK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michawn said...

hmmm...your 7:04 comment was very gracious. and then you came back with the 9:16 comment. it's interesting to me that you feel the need to point out clear logic here. logic that i've pointed out myself, time and time again, on this blog...and have pointed out even in this blog series (you might want to go back to the very first post in this series even, back in october; i specifically had a full paragraph about perspective). what you're doing's...splitting hairs. because of course my friend who has experienced adultery has experienced something that i haven't, but that was not the point that was being made here, was it? the point was that we have both been betrayed. in different ways and to different degrees...but, betrayal nonetheless. the point is that my friend saw common ground...and didn't have a 'well, i had it worse than you did' outlook on it. and that is one of the things we're called to do when we're showing true grace. i find it comical that that was your initial concern with me and this blog series...that i wasn't showing and extending grace and mercy. yet here you are comparing wounds to see whose is greater? yes, my friend gets it. and so do i when dealing with others (who logically speaking, have not 'suffered' to the same extent as i in a given area, but yet receive the same 'bottom line' wisdom and empathy as my friend gave me). i'm afraid you don't get it yet. maybe with more time and experience under your belt you will. but, you coming back to share your 'point' which is just a logical given...that proves you don't get it just yet.

i'm not sure what your point in visiting my blog might be. if it is helpful in any way, that is what it is here for. but, if you visit only to be critical (of things that are only figments of your imagination in the first place), you might find another blog to visit. i don't really have the time to explain things to you here. if you want to get to know me and we can connect on a different level, that is fine. but, i would appreciate you emailing me if you have any further questions rather than commenting here. you can email me at michawn at ebersole online dot com. thank you.

Mrs. VK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michawn said...

^^^ which is exactly why i asked you not to comment here, because it is not working to speak here...and why i invited you to email me instead so that we could get to know each other better in order to avoid any further time-wasting comments (time-wasting because we know nothing about each other). it is up to you what you do from here. but, if you comment here again, i will just delete it. thank you.

Michawn said...

i do want to also say that i am sorry for your obvious pain. i hope you find healing.