I’m about to start the Rebuilding class

[JZ: Steve Melio is currently taking Rebuilding and will be sharing some of his journal entries with us. Until we get him set up to post on his own, I’ll be posting on his behalf. Here’s his first entry:]

I’m not a fan of psychobabble, so I’m working on going into this Rebuilding with an open mind. In fact, this year I feel like a victim of psychobabble, because my wife of 30 years just started trotting out all these books on emotional abuse and narcissism, pointing out how I have this checklist symptom or that one. When you read these lists, most “normal” people would admit to having one, two or maybe even several symptoms, but that doesn’t mean you come anywhere near the psychological criteria for the condition. But it’s a good way to brand your spouse with the pent-up frustrations of marriage issues never resolved.

I felt blindsided when she brought all this up. I felt deeply ashamed, not because I had been “caught red-handed” but because it was my wife & soul mate doing it. She’s the one person who makes life’s many hassles worth it for me, and now it’s like she’s telling me I should be in a cell along with murderers and child molesters. And she’s telling me it’s over between us, and I can’t believe it’s come to this.

After several months of feeling shattered, I talk to an old friend who did the Rebuilding class years ago. She was a basket case for a long time around her divorce, but the class really got her back on track. I tell her that I’m not even sure my wife & I are going to get divorced, that we’re being more caring than we’ve been in years, so maybe all we’ll do is a separation and see how it goes. My friend points out that the legal labels don’t mean a thing, that I’m still on an emotional rollercoaster that’s shaken my world to its core. She’s right. I’ve got to deal with this disintegration now, no matter what the final outcome. My trust and self-esteem are at lifetime lows. How am I going to deal with that?

That’s why I’ve signed up for this Rebuilding class. I just hope it’s a lot more than 10 weeks of group hugs. I don’t know what I need, but I’ve got to get to my feet again. There was plenty in our marriage that I wasn’t happy about either, so if I can find a way to get past all this grief, maybe I can have a new & better relationship in the future.

I told my friend that I’d be keeping a journal and might even be willing to share it if it didn’t feel too weird. You’re reading my first journal entry. If I suddenly stop posting in the future, it’ll probably be because I got freaked out. We’ll see how it goes.

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