My Pain Was a Gift and a Catalyst for Growth

Posted by on November 23, 2019 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living, Thrive with 0 Comments

Image Credit: Tiny Buddha

By Patricia Cagganello | Tiny Buddha

“Sometimes pain is the teacher we require, a hidden gift of healing and hope.” ~Janet Jackson

I was becoming more and more confused as to what my feelings were toward my husband. Longing for that personal adult male connection, I started to feel trapped in my marriage. However, I still had a very strong sense of our family unit and my commitment to it.

I wasn’t going to do anything to jeopardize the family, even if it meant sacrificing my personal happiness. I made a conscious decision that my life was enough. It wasn’t perfect, but it was enough.

However, within a few months, I knew in my heart that my husband and I were further apart emotionally than even I could accept or ignore any longer. I had to address it, but I had to do it carefully. I wanted to make sure my husband understood that I still loved him; we just needed to work on some things. I believed it would make both of us happier.

I found time one night after dinner. We had just finished cleaning up the kitchen and were standing by the counter. The mood was relaxed and we had some privacy; the girls were busy working on their homework upstairs. It seemed as good a time as any.


I took a deep breath and blurted out, “I think we are not as close as married people should be.”

My husband looked at me funny, first a little quizzically as if he didn’t understand what he had just heard. Then his face relaxed and a look of release washed over it. His response shocked me to my core.

“I agree,” he said with relief. “I haven’t loved you for a long time. I was just pretending.”

“What? What did you just say?!?” I stammered, feeling as if I couldn’t catch my breath.

His words were suffocating. I stood there, motionless, as a torrent of emotions raged inside of me. I looked into the eyes of the person I thought I knew completely, that I had trusted without question. A cold, damp feeling of dread came over me. He was the person I thought loved me unconditionally, the one that I had built my life with.

What did he just say?

Now, I wasn’t expecting flowers and chocolates. But I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting his response to be more along the lines of “I agree. I feel it too. What can we do about it?”

I was astonished. I was numb. I cried. I pleaded for some explanation. He had none. He said he would have gone on pretending forever, but since I dared to bring it up, he was able to finally be honest. We briefly tried marriage counseling, but his mind was made up. He didn’t love me. He was sorry. He felt guilty for the pain he was causing the girls and me, but he didn’t love me.

We were divorced within the year. Everyone marveled at how civil we were. How well I was handling everything. I went into survival mode during the divorce proceedings.

I had to protect my children emotionally. All of my strength went into doing that. I had to stay calm. I knew they were watching me. I tried not to argue. I tried to act normally. Really, I tried.

I also had to financially protect myself and my children. There were so many things to think about. How could I stay in the house with the kids? They were in high school by then and I didn’t want to uproot them. How could I pay for college? We were just getting by with two salaries and one house. How could I make this work? We eventually figured the financial part out. In comparison, that turned out to be the easy part.

He moved out, we got divorced, and then I fell apart.

This experience exposed some very deep wounds within me. Wounds I had that for many years had been scabbed over. Deep, thick scabs that protected me and allowed me to pretend they weren’t there. Now, without warning, they had been ripped wide open.

Wounds are funny things. We all have them. We respond from them, sometimes consciously, but many times not. They affect our thoughts and behaviors even when we’re not aware of it. If we look close enough we can even see others’ wounds in their actions.

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