Almost three years ago, Lovefraud published the story of a man from the UK whom I called Tom. Tom’s wife left him for another man, took their children, had him arrested on false charges nine times and wiped him out financially. Here is the original story:
Now, three years later, Tom still hasn’t seen his children. His ex-wife and her new husband, who also sounds like a sociopath, have removed the children from the UK. They live in France, at a small town near the Swiss border. “My heart bleeds every minute for the loss,” he writes. “It is a living bereavement and a nightmare from which I may never awake.”
I asked Tom if he was taking care of himself. Here’s his reply:
I have taken care of myself and for the most part I am okay. Some days are worse than others. I do have my very depressed and painful days … but I close my eyes, dream of days and memories of long ago, sleep and they pass.
I have to deal with my health and look after my parents. My mother phones me and cries about her grandson all the time. She has post-traumatic difficulties and says she cannot connect with her other grandchildren because of what she feels for my son. She feels a deep loss and is constantly worried about the kids. Every open discussion starts with them [opening the scar] and ends with them.
I am holding my own and my health has deteriorated but I am stable. I hold my family in the balance on many fronts. I am keeping it together but the pain is immense at times.
I am working and seem to have bounced back somewhat to where I used to be… the years have been tearful, painful and costly. I don’t think that I will every really recover.
Releasing the pain
How do you cope when there is no resolution in sight?
I asked Tom about how he is taking care of himself because that may be, for the time being, all he can do. Emotional pain weakens us and makes it difficult to continue the battle. So somehow, Tom needs to alleviate the pain, even though his circumstances have not changed.
This seems counterintuitive—how can he feel better when his children are still kept away from him? The solution is to deal with the pain directly. Pain can be processed and released, even when the source of the pain has not changed.
Pain comes from wanting things to be different. The solution is to accept what is, for the time being, reality. This does not mean giving up hope. It does not mean quitting the legal battle. But it does mean letting go of the internal upset that keeps us trapped, and makes us ill.
How do we do that? We allow ourselves to feel the pain and grief at our loss. This is best done privately, or perhaps with a skilled counselor. We allow ourselves to cry, moan with the anguish, perhaps pound pillows in our anger. We continue until we feel a release, and then we stop.
Tom will probably have to do this many times—the well of his pain and grief is deep. But each time grief is released, it makes room for healing. And from a place of healing, it is possible to find the internal resources to continue the battle.