Friday, October 02, 2015

Joel. Michawn. {Part 49 - Effects, Goodness, Brokenness/Repentance, and Intentions}

How are we doing?  How is it going now?

Good questions.  I wonder myself.  Because here's the deal...

It wouldn't be prudent to trust.  So, when things seem to be going O.K., what is really going on?

I thought things were going to be fine after last Labor Day.  "Trust me," I was told.  By January, I knew that it wasn't looking good (I didn't say this in that blog post, but much of the opposition was again from Joel at that point).  By April (link to Part 1...Part 2 and "The Rest of April" follow), I knew that it was bad again...and I didn't even know the half of it at that point.

But, May 1st, I again thought it was fine again...we had spent a whole week intensively going over things and had reached understanding.  There had been a new and different level of revelation.  Again, I had no clue what was really going on.  But, at that point, I thought we were on the road to recovery and was told, again, "Trust me."

I waited for the other shoe to drop at that point.  From the beginning of May until mid-June...I just waited to see what would happen.  For a month and a half, no other shoe dropped.  So, I began my life again.  I started down a road to recovery (I'll write more specifically about this soon...recovery of more than just our marriage is involved) that I had tried to start down over and over and over again...this time I had wisely waited to see if it was going to be a possibility.  After waiting that long, it looked to be possible, but...

Two weeks later the bomb dropped, that other shoe fell hard, and we were right back where we started...but even further back.  Amazing the devastation at that time...not just between Joel and me, but also with others who chose to weigh in or chose to 'silently support' (again, silent support = betrayal).  It was the end. are we doing?  It's wise to just watch and wait.  But, in terms of an update...


Well...things have been going 'well' since our week-long+ intensive counseling session in Dallas August 10th - 20th (link to first blog post about counseling...three more follow that one).  There have been some bumps in the road.  But, it seems things have really and truly turned around this time.

Having said that, given the past we've had and the untrustworthiness of a certain person, who really knows?  I promise you "Trust me" doesn't work at all anymore.  So...we (you and I) wait.  We see.  We look for the other shoe to drop.  We hope that it won't.  But, we just don't know if it will or not.  Because it's not up to me and you.

And as we go along...things continue to reveal themselves in even greater light.  Recently, I had to have a 'come-to-Jesus' talk with Joel.

The truth is that, although his belief system and actions caused all of this damage, he is very minimally affected by it in everyday life.  Sure, we're not living the life we dreamed of and thought God had called us to...not by any stretch of the imagination.  But, in his personal life and in his interactions with others...nothing has changed.  He is the same in health, in what he does from day to day, in the way others treat him, etc.  In his daily life...not a lot has changed.  There is no hard work of recovery required of Joel in this season.  We go places and interact with people...Joel appears to be the same, unaffected person that he always has been (because, he wrongly is unaffected).

Everything has changed for me.  Everything.  My health, the way I feel, the way I look, the interactions I have with people, my relationships, our (the kids' and my) day-to-day lives and's all very, very, very different.  Major, major damage was done (in all aspects)...and it's not something that I can just choose not to think about...because I have to choose to think about it in order to recover.  A recovery that is going to take a ton of hard work from me...and lots of time and energy.  Like I've said before, the extensive damage was done by someone else...the mess was made by someone else...but I'm the one who has to clean up the mess.

Because of that truth that it basically doesn't affect him in the day-to-day, and because of the fact that I'm not a grudge-holder so it doesn't affect him in the day-to-day in our relationship (as long as things are going well)...that 'come-to-Jesus' talk was necessary.

Because he just forgets.  He forgets the magnitude of it all.  He forgets what he has done...and what has happened.  He forgets the damage he's done and how that affects me and the kids and how we have to deal with that every single moment of every single day.  He's not faced with it from day-to-day.

And, as it came out in that little talk...

He still thinks he is 'good.'  He still thinks of himself as a 'good person.'  And, because nobody treats him any differently and others still treat him like he is still a 'good person,' he forgets (because a people-pleaser, the way others see him and treat him is his primary focus and motivator in how he thinks about himself and his life).

Because it doesn't affect him in day-to-day life and because he thinks of himself as still 'good' (and others of the world who he naturally, in his bent toward being a 'moving towards people' person, wants to please don't call him anything else or treat him like he is anything less than 'good' and still the same person that he always was), he doesn't walk in repentance and brokenness.  It's not the lens he sees through as he walks along.

It's interesting to see the different mindsets and beliefs at play here.  When you are working with a people-pleasing mindset, someone who has done that their whole lives, and it's never been questioned in his start to see just how deep it goes.


In order to truly be repentant about something you have done, you have to reach a point of brokenness.  You realize what you have done, you see what you have done for what it really is, you understand and grasp that it was terribly terribly wrong, and because of that you feel horrible about it and you feel great remorse, walk in that until you have made it right.  And you never lose sight of the fact that you are, forevermore, capable of such a thing.  You are broken by what you have done.  You are broken about the fact that you could even do such a thing.  You are filled with regret and sadness over what you have done.

True sadness and regret...that is the lens you see through after you have been broken over something you did.  

Instead, sometimes what happens is that people know that they did wrong, or they have been told that they did wrong at least, and they try to remember that in their minds and try to get their actions to follow what they are trying to remember in their minds...but it doesn't really work.  It's head knowledge.  It's not 'real' to them.

If what you have done doesn't really affect you in daily life practically,  remembering what you have done is more challenging.  That's not an excuse...because someone who has caused so much damage should be affected in their daily lives no matter what others are saying about them or how they are being treated by others.  They should be able to see the damage they've done to others...and in others.  But, people-pleasers are more focused on what others think of them (not their wives...because their wives will always be there; but the others in their lives).

Why does Joel never talk about this himself?  Well, because he wants to still be treated as that 'good' person that everyone loves and respects and admires.  He doesn't want this to affect him in daily life.  He wants to keep it all 'private' and in the dark and hidden…not because it should be (because it shouldn’t), but to keep people’s perceptions of him a certain way.  This all being in the light is messing up his people-pleasing.  So, in his own personal life and in his interactions with people, he keeps this on the down-low.  Therefore, it doesn't affect him.  When he does, rarely, speak about it, he majorly downplays.

The fact that it doesn't affect him in his daily life is coupled with that deep belief he has that 'everyone is good.'  With people who have this belief, even if the brokenness ever was there, it is fleeting.  It is but for a moment.  Literally.  Because...everyone is good.  He is good.  Which leads into something else...

One of the other wrong beliefs that has come out from all of this has been a belief about intentions.  Ahhh, intentions.

"Oh, well it's the thought that counts."

That's an example of intentions...and it is often true that it is the thought that counts.  That works when you are giving an acquaintance a little gift of chocolate on Valentine's Day, yet they are allergic to chocolate.  See?  That's an example of "it's the thought that counts."

But, with a repeated harmful is not the thought that counts.  Not at all.

One of the things we've pinpointed about Joel's belief system was his belief that if, in his heart of hearts he didn't intend to cause damage, he was 'off the hook.'  He felt free of any wrongdoing.  Because, after all, it wasn't his intention to cause harm.

A great example of this is the timeline of our lives and everything that has happened in the past few years that I typed up for our counselors.  Even though we walked through every single thing on that timeline and he agreed that all of what was listed were true facts, he always back-peddled and told the counselors that it wasn't accurate.  Why?  Because it didn't list his intentions.  Because his intentions meant more to him than what actually happened, he didn't feel it was accurate.

No matter what actually happened, his intentions ruled.  Therefore, if what happened was completely opposite of his intentions, it wasn't his fault...because his intentions were to not cause harm.

Of course, that doesn't really actually fly since I was telling him point blank that what he was doing was causing harm and yet he still did it...because he wasn't listening to and believing me.  But, even in the light of me telling him clearly that what he was doing was causing harm, his intentions were what ruled for him.  He was completely blind to me and the kids and what was actually going on and the damage he was causing.

And...because of his intentions, because that is what he has judged himself by...he is still, in his mind and heart, a 'good person.'

But, people of the world...that is a very false and very dangerous belief system.  No matter your intentions, if you caused major damage to someone for years, and you lied and betrayed and cheated and manipulated and destroyed for years on, you are not a good person.

Let that sink in.

No, you are not a good person.  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now...can you be again?  Yes.  But, you aren't now!!  And you haven't been for a very, very long time!!

And being a 'good person' again will require true brokenness and repentance...and walking in that constantly until the damage is healed.  And walking in that constantly, always, in regards to this period of life.  And, never turning back to that sort of thinking and behavior...because that is what true repentance is.

If you are actually broken and truly will affect your life constantly.  You won't have to be reminded that you destroyed your marriage and family's life.  Ha, geez.  It will be the lens through which you look.  It just will.  It will pepper your conversations, it will enter your every thought, it will order your steps.  It will consume you...not in a bad way, but in a way that convicts, and gives you great desire to never return to that, and gives you focus in doing what it takes to repair the damage you've done, and gives you a desire to learn and help others to never have to go through something like this.

I'm quite sure that my husband isn't the only one who has had these wrong beliefs about goodness, intentions, brokenness, and repentance...about just 'moving ahead' with personal wrongdoing not even affecting your life.  Some of you might be able to relate.  For some of you, this might shed some light on what might possibly be going on in your yourselves or others you are linked to.

But, this just shows how deep and how numerous these issues are...the 'cancer' in our marriage is Stage 4 and malignant and very spread throughout.  We are constantly realizing just what we are dealing with.  We're in the process of 'exploratory surgery'...and as we continue to look around in our marriage, we continue to see the things, the different 'cancers' (issues, wrong beliefs), 'on the inside' that have caused all of this damage to our marriage and our lives (mine and the kids' especially...more specifics later).

I've discussed some of those things we've found so far here today.  Hopefully it will help some of you in your own lives.  Hopefully it will open eyes to deep issues that aren't necessarily usually talked about. are we doing?  We're in surgery.  We are being operated on.  We're still listed as 'critical.'  At any moment, 'the other shoe could drop.'  At any moment, we could flatline.

So, just continue the prayers.  Thank you.

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