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How did I know it was time to file for divorce?

I am in a 20 year marriage, and divorce has been coming for a long time. For a few years now, my friends and family have been asking me when I am actually going to file. My answer has always been, “I don’t know, but I am confident that I will know when it is time.” Every day it just didn’t feel right yet. That was okay, because every day I did the next right thing to get me closer to ready. These steps ranged from packing up some sentimental family items that I didn’t want to fight over to taking one of the boys to our trusted and amazing counselor. It included documenting things that had happened that week and even talking with his mom about what was going on. One step at a time, I put things in place, not only for the impending divorce but also for the necessary healing for me and our boys.

My Heart Knew

About 3 weeks ago, the emotional tension in our house hit an all time high. As most of my readers know, we have 2 boys together in this marriage. In August this year, our oldest son went off to college. I was concerned about this change in our household dynamics. As I feared, our youngest son became the new target for my husband. For whatever reason, my husband decided that he now needed to “fix” his relationship with our youngest son. What this means in reality is that our youngest son needs to put more effort into the relationship and make his dad feel better about himself. The conversations that this brings are extremely painful to the victim. You get told that you are to blame for everything and that all the things you have ever done are wrong. Everything you say gets turned around and used against you. You feel absolutely not good enough, completely empty, and painfully worthless.

These conversations were starting to happen on a daily basis. I watched our youngest son as he more and more distanced himself from the world. A wall was going up around his heart and anger was winning. Absolutely not!! Not to my son! Maybe it was time??

I have known for several years that divorce was coming. I have poured EVERY ounce of energy I had into helping this marriage, into trying to connect with my husband on a deeper emotional level in hopes that we could draw closer. I have exhausted every resource I had, plus created some of my own. I reached out to everyone that I thought could help him and us. Nothing ever changed! My hopes have been crushed so many times that I feel like roadkill on the side of the highway. My fuel tank is completely dry.

Then that day came. The first day ever that I felt like the next step was actually to file for divorce. I couldn’t believe it. I always had said that I would know, and somehow now I knew. This was a day that I had been waiting for for years. How did I know? I just knew.

My Body Knew

As this realization came to me, I became aware that even my body had known. You see, about a month earlier, I ran a fever for almost a week. There was no apparent reason. I wasn’t actually sick. I didn’t have a cold or a bug. Each day, I woke up feeling okay, but by the afternoon I had a fever of 102. I drank a ton, took my vitamins and essential oils, slept extra, even took a couple days off work. But nothing was helping. Realizing that I wasn’t going to beat this, I finally went to the doctor. After checking me over, she said, “I’m not sure what this is, but I think you have some type of infection.” She could not figure out why I was running the fever but wanted to put me on antibiotics. The antibiotics immediately took care of it. I finished them out and didn’t think anymore of it.

However over the next few weeks, there were many times that I felt that fever was coming back. The back of my neck and inside of my head felt incredibly hot. I wondered if it was hot flashes. I am approaching that age and have never had those yet. But this feeling of a fever lasted for half a day. I checked my temp often, but it came back normal every time. On the inside, I felt like my blood was boiling. I could feel that fever burning hot. I asked one of my friends multiple times if I felt hot to her. Each time she said no. When I had asked her on repeated days, she finally asked me what was going on. I told her that the fever was back but only on the inside. I really felt like something was starting to be very wrong with my body.

I think I had finally reached a point that my body could not take the stress level anymore. It was reacting and trying to get my attention. If this continued, I believe I really would have paid a high price.

I Listened

So how did I know it was time? I listened to my heart, and I listened to my body. When I went to actually sign the divorce papers, I thought that I might be rather emotional. I really wasn't sure how I would react in that moment. As it turns out, I was not emotional at all. When the time came to sign, my hands were shaky, and my heart was pounding. But I was overwhelmed with a feeling of peace and a sense of relief. I knew it was time!

So where are you on this journey? Are you still fighting for your marriage? For your life? For your kids? I get it. I fought long and hard. Are you counting your days until you can get out? Is divorce hanging over your head?

No matter where you are on that journey, you are not alone! I am so sorry for where you find yourself. It is not a path that you planned or ever imagined would come your way. This is not what you signed up for. It isn’t what you wanted for yourself or your kids. Please continue to reach out for help. Find your support group. There are many out there who have traveled this road ahead of you. There is life after narcissism! Take it one step at a time. Brighter days are ahead for you!

Coming soon is my next post which is how he reacted to my filing for divorce. We are in the whole process now. I have lots to learn, but am still taking it one single step at a time.