Life, Part 2 – After the marriage

Hello, old friends. Long time! I’ve missed you… while I’ve been busy finding me ; )

As I write this, I’m sitting in the most beautiful room that ever was, feeling the most peaceful I have ever felt, because it is mine – As Virginia Woolf famously called it, ‘A Room of One’s Own,’ – I have my own place, with my daughter. We’ve settled it, and it is absolutely amazing….

J and I separated 8 months ago. It’s strange to think there was a time when I couldn’t imagine life without him, when now all I remember is the abuse.

In June it will be official – and I am so very ok with June coming.

Sometimes I think I’ve found a nice memory – like the special tea he used to make me when I was sick, or the amazing vacations we took to Cuba, Paris, Mexico. But no sooner have I thought about the nice thing and the bad part comes rushing in with it. The way he yelled at me for not appreciating the tea, or the way he treated me during his fits on every one of those vacations….. Horribly. Even on the Honeymoon and ‘babymoon.’

I’ve thought about the many women (and men) who suffer verbal abuse for years and years with no escape and no name for it. I want to do something about it, but not sure what I could do. It’s such a slippery little topic. So hard to define. And the attitudes you face: Did he hit you though? No… So it’s not ‘actual’ abuse then….

Ok.

Patricia Evans’ definition set me free last summer, while I was recovering: Verbal abuse is a lie told to you about you.

Yep. You are not any of those horrible names/descriptors. And how liberating to be free of those lies.

Back then, and for many months before that, I was blogging pretty regularly. I was going through a huge change from not drinking alcohol and kind of rediscovering myself.  But for the past 8 months – barely a word huh?! I hope you are all doing well on your amazing journeys.

I’m quite happy to report that I am dating an old friend turned new flame… somebody who always liked me and I always liked but we were never single at the same time. It’s a total breath of fresh air… and while I am not moving fast I am enjoying it so incredibly much. This delicious new love.

I know that many of the bloggers I read are quite religious. I am not, but am spiritual… and I just have to say… I am so positively sure that God has been watching over me, and I am so grateful for the guiding light that has led me through all this insanity, into the beauty of a healthy new life.

XOX

 

Thou shalt not marry Don Draper (And how to avoid it)

Ladies, you know the type. Charming. Handsome. Intoxicating. Downright magical at times.

His favourite thing about you is less your values and more your assets.

I even called him ‘my perfect prince’ in our wedding vows.

Gahh.

Ohh…. yes. It’s so obvious. Any sensible woman could tell you why marrying Don Draper would be a bad idea. And yet, if you want it, you’re going to do it anyway. Like I did.

I knew it was a bad move, I knew there would be consequences. But I wanted to have fun. And I was flattered that a man like that, liked me……  (damn you, self esteem!)

Unfortunately, I married a Don Draper who’s zest for creative language included calling me every derogatory, demeaning name in the book (from Lazy to Psychopath… and everything in between).

We had a whirlwind tornado of a relationship. It got toxic. It ended. That’s now the past.

I’ve now been separated for about 5 months. And it’s true, as my friend Looking for Chris said, that after the 90 day mark, things move quickly from Phase 1 to Phase 2. I’m happy to report that my phase 1 thoughts of reconciliation (and the miserable feeling these thoughts came with) are now finished. I have no interest in being with him ever again. And I am so very excited about what the future holds!

I’ve come to see that having my whole world hinge on 1 asshole is so much less rewarding than trusting my soul to the great universe and all it has in store for those who are willing to be open to it.

And open to it I am.

So inevitably, my thoughts are beginning to turn to dating – in the future – but to tell you the truth, I would still like more kids…. so I can’t *really* wait that long, although I’m aiming for 1 year. And when it does happen, I don’t want to throw myself into it head first. I want to be cautious, and pay a good deal of attention to the real person I see before me. I don’t want to ignore red flags (again). Or love so much I blind myself (again). And get into situations that aren’t healthy (again). I think you’re getting the picture!

So here’s what I want to know from my next potential human! I’m going to answer them myself as well (I will post) and you are welcome to do the same. I would love to hear your answers to any or all!

These are questions that I think with help me separate true good-human qualities from… shiny distractions and false advertising. In the end, it is what’s inside that counts for everything.

  1. What do you value most highly in an intimate partner (current or past), and why?
  2. What brings you joy?
  3. If you could never do one household chore again which one would it be?
  4. What makes you laugh? (List as many as you like)
  5. Who are your mentors or heroes, and what qualities do they have that you admire?
  6. Under what circumstances do strong negative emotions overtake you (or try to) and how do you handle that?
  7. What do you hide or feel ashamed of vs show and feel proud of?
  8. What do you ‘work on’ about yourself, or what are your weaknesses?
  9. What makes you a great partner?
  10. What brings meaning to your life, generally and specifically (daily or  weekly practices or hobbies, for example)?

Reunion, tomorrow.

This week my husband and I texted (by Skype) –  the first interaction we’ve had since his arrest, almost exactly 90 days ago.

It was good to talk to him, just for the familiarity. It was weird to recall how much of his cruel words I look past. For some reason, his abuse has always felt like love to me. Some strange part of me hears his hate and thinks ‘well, look how much he cares’ — I guess because it is negative, but it is still focused attention. (Cue the story of neglected childhood)

We basically have been talking on and off now for a few days. Mostly bad stuff. Mostly him blaming me for the arrest and saying it was planned and that I lied and yada yada.

I am well aware that he is paranoid, and that something goes very wrong in his head that makes his thoughts extremely different from reality. What disease is that? I don’t know. He fits no description. Maybe it’s something to do with his multiple head injuries. I have no idea.

And there comes that old feeling – that I’m the only one who will take take care of him, and I’m the only one who was born to love him. So there, I’m crazy too. hah!

I do feel really different talking to him – like nothing really rattles me anymore. So call me a liar, call me whatever you want – I don’t care. (I told him, actually, that I did not appreciate it, but I didn’t react to it, I just told him…. .)

It’s so weird that after all this, he is still just this steaming pile of…. blame.

So we will sell the house and we will move on, but in his head… it’s like there is no reality creeping in. He will continue to think I am his to abuse.

I married a crazy person. I knew I was doing it. I did it knowingly.

I read a strange thing the other day in the book “the verbally abusive relationship” — that people with a ‘compassionate witness’ to their suffering tend to become artists and empaths… and those who did not have that, become abusers.

He abuses, I feel sorry for him.

Fack. I don’t like that part of me that’s just like “come home, you fucking abusive idiot” and let’s ignore your craziness some more.

And tomorrow we meet at Starbucks to ‘exchange’ our daughter. So gross. I hate all of it. it’s gonna be super weird! At least I’m totally skinny! LOL. (((((The girls understand))))

 

Poo.

So, I’m obviously messed up right now, right? Been separated 3 months. Everything is fresh. I’m probably radiating a sort of volatile vulnerability.

Today two different men in my life flirted with me. In both cases, charmers. Ladies men. Boys who like their toys. Guys who know what I’m going through.

I’m so grossed out. Because I realize now what kind of man is drawn to a unstable woman — it is the same kind of man I married – ‘the rescuer.’ The guy who wants to swoop in and be depended on, and will be happy with you as long as you’re under foot.

I can tell you with total certainty that there are women who would lap this shit up – because it would have been me a few years back. 100%

But this time I’m in for the long play…. I want to see who comes around when I’m 1 year single and feeling balanced and good. Then we’ll see who comes knocking, and who I let in. I can tell you right now it’s going to be a fine human being and not some dive-bombing vulnerability hungry douchebag.

Who knows – maybe they are nice, but the dynamic that would be set up by jumping into a relationship now is so flipping obvious to me now and I would have been blind to it before.

Don’t worry readers – I will set my boundaries with said men and maybe even have them as nice at-a-distance friends, but ain’t no way no how I’m falling for the prince charming bullshit. I am feeling ANYTHING BUT romantic. Plus I’m still married, aren’t I? Oh my gawwwwd… how did this all happen??

: (

poo

Thriving through separation and divorce. WTF?

75 DAYS SINCE… You know.

*I am kind of shocked at how well I’m doing and how good I’m feeling and I have a suspicion that separation and divorce is not this pleasant for people who have not been living with abuse. So take this with a grain of salt, anyone reading who has lost their best friend through a broken marriage. I did not really lost my best friend…. but I did lose my worst enemy. 

Right now I’m eating a juicy giant yellow heirloom tomato and enjoying every bite. More than I’ve enjoyed food in years.

Today I built a bird house with my daughter. 

Last week I baked my first pie (it was pretty darn good!) 

Also had a huge milestone at work with an eight month long project coming to fruition, and achieving buy-in from all the very-high-ups.

To top it all off, I’m running and losing a lot of weight. I run minimum twice a week, religiously, for at least 30 minutes, and I’ve entered into a race for charity next Saturday!!

I could tell you about the hard times, the relapses in emotion, the morning anxiety (it’s much better now) — but all that is par for the courses. What’s remarkable is how freakin’ good I”m feeling.

I hope all you fellow bloggers are feeling good too. Even though I’m not writing much these days, I am still so grateful for your support and encouragement through this process. I don’t think I would have been this brave without you. HUGS to you and our virtual friendships!

Here is a list of things that have helped me not just survive but Thrive during this time:

  1. I MOW THE LAWN WITH A SELF-HELP BOOK ON THE iPOD First of all, who knew that a lady could mow a lawn? As you may recall from my former state of dependency, I wasn’t always so self-reliant. But nowadays, every Sunday I take the ol’ mower out of the garage and let ‘er rip. I put my headphones in and let sun beat down on me while I trod along, mow, mow, mow. And since we have a pretty big backyard, by the end of this process I feel nicely tired out, refreshed mentally because of what I’ve been listening to, and generally much better than however I did before. Highly recommend!
  2. I RUN, AND ADD ONE NEW SONG TO MY RUN PLAYLIST EVERY TIME The drastic changes in me from June until now have meant that my playlist is everything from Rage against the Machine to Olivia Newton John to Sia! With some Led Zep mixed in there. And some weird 80’s anthems in there too. HA! But this playlist has come to be a living songbook for my process of grieving, growing, and giving life my all again. I look forward to every run.
  3. I’M LEARNING HOW TO STAY IN THE MOMENT I read (actually listened to) a great book called 10% Happier (a funny skeptical take on meditation and self help) and have also been listening to Pema Chodron’s talk called Getting Unstuck and both of these books have helped me gently resist my own temptation to think about the terror and catastrophe side of what I have been through and could go through. It’s not naive, it’s just practical – to focus on today. Not the terrifying future. Not the unchangeable past. I guess it’s a part of surrender, and a part of trusting. Let Go and Let God. It feels so much better.
  4. I”M MAKING ACQUAINTANCES If I had been through this a few years ago, or any other time in my life, I would have been crying on shoulders, and drowning my sorrows on my next victim, I guarantee it. I have been a serial monogamist. Even in school when I wasn’t with a guy, my best girl friend and I were completely and monogamously joined at the hip. I have never been one to stand on my own two feet – until now. This fall, I am looking forward to making casual friends with the moms at my daughters dance classes or the people who I run alongside in my race. I want to make new friends the old fashion way. Instead of having one person in my life who I am completely ‘one’ with – I want to be one with ME!!! And have lots of people around who know and like me for me. Sounds pretty normal, probably, but it’s new for me.
  5. I’M TRYING NEW THINGS, AND SO EXCITED ABOUT IT! Where have I been all my life, seriously? This marriage, and life on the other side of it has been the biggest wake up call. I want to ski and swim and play guitar and sail and bake more pies and take road trips and learn to salsa and do 10,000 other things that I couldn’t have cared less about before. Because I was an addict. A trapped, programmed, miserable human, looking for happiness in wine glasses, packs of cigarettes and handsome blue eyes. Fuck that. Know what? Life is so many million times better after smoking, drinking and boys. And I am so grateful that I am young enough to still build a wonderful life. Yes ME.

LA VIE EST BELLE. LIFE IS FOR THE LIVING. LOVE TO ALL.

10 ways to make your narcissistic partner really mad

Found this list in my notes today.

#truestory.

10 ways to make J mad enough to curse me out and go drinking:

1. Ask if he’d like a tomato.
2. Make brunch plans
3. Suggest going to a patio instead of grocery shopping
4. As if you can watch something on tv later
5. If you’re stuck in traffic, suggest not going to the destination that’s far and hard to get to.
6. Ask him to let you know when he’s not stuck on the subway anymore.
7. Make cranberry sauce without giving advance notice
8. Offer him a breakfast sandwich more than once
9. Be skeptical about a startup opportunity
10. Ask if he felt bad watching SNL without me.

It wasn’t until I realized my flaws were ‘the flavor of the month’ that I woke up to the reality: I was not perfect, but I was not at fault.