Can you see the difference?
Just because I felt like showing her off a little. Isn’t she cute?
Can you see the difference?
Just because I felt like showing her off a little. Isn’t she cute?
I just got an email from Mr. X’s step-dad, telling me to send him my engagement ring (which had belonged to his mother) along with a necklace that X’s mom had given me.
So there have been some questions in the comments, and I’m never really sure how to handle them (should I answer in the comments? Email the commenter? Write a comment on their blog?). Some of these, I’ve already answered the people who asked them, but some I haven’t, but I just thought I’d do a mishmosh post of the few questions I found going back through the long history of this blog. There are a couple of fluffy questions and a couple of heavy ones–here they are:
FatChick asked: When you were with X, did you feel really happy? Really sad? Really ANYTHING? A friend I recently talked to worded this the best, I think. She said, ”You must have been dying inside.” I think I was, but there was that whole denial thing going on, so I would grab onto any “good” moment (or any moment that was at least not terrible) and convince myself that things weren’t so bad. I also kept myself really busy, really distracted, and really numbed out (do you remember any of my posts on the old blog about the compulsive eating?). Mostly numbed out, I think, actually. But like I said in a recent post, as hard as all of this leaving and divorce stuff is, all of the uncertainty, all of the recovery stuff, I know know know that this is so much better than what I was in before.
WiseGuy asked (re: my possible stress fracture): Have you been asked to take Calcium supplements? I was not told that I needed them, but I started taking them on my own, because, this is really making me start to wonder. Once I get all my health insurance craziness worked out–there may be a delay with the COBRA–I hope to talk to a doctor about this problem. I think the problem has more to do with my unbalanced walking than anything else, but you never know.
Erica asked two questions: How old is Miss Famous? She turned three years old sometime in March, is the best guess (she’s a shelter dog, so nothing is certain). Are you a Harry Potter fan? Oh, you better believe it.
Sally (no blog given) asked: You say he wasn’t physically abusive, but yet you were afraid of him. What were you afraid would happen? Back in the beginning, I think I was just afraid that he would leave me. Later, I’m not sure what I was afraid of, I just know that I was really afraid of his anger. I attributed this to my “issues” for a long time, but now I see this as something healthy, kind of a warning system: fear of crazy people’s anger. He’s not the first crazy person who I’ve been afraid of when they’ve been angry (which is why I attributed it to my issues).
I have kept journals ever since I was in eighth or ninth grade. I have used them in different ways, but they have been very important to me ever since that time.
My journal writing stopped completely just after getting together with Mr. X. Obviously I think that it is really significant, but the analysis will have to come another day. I finally started writing again in February of 2008 after I had been seeing a counselor for a few months. I had initially gone to her because of being overwhelmed by the infertility struggle, but very quickly many other issues came up. Thanks to seeing her, and to some other work I did, particularly dealing with my compulsive eating issues, the abuse dynamic with X came into clearer and clearer focus in that last year until I left, and, well, here I am, processing about it all on the internet.
Once I started blogging, that kind of took the place of a physical journal, but I have two journals from more or less the last year. I really wish that I had something from the intervening years–when I didn’t write anything, but I don’t, and that in and of itself speaks volumes. Sometimes when I was at work, I wouldn’t be able to whip out my pretty little journal and just start writing down my feelings, so I would type things and sometimes print them out, if I felt like they were worth keeping. I didn’t print out very much; usually I just typed to get my feelings out and then hit ‘delete.’
Before I made my Great Escape, I found one of these sheets of paper that I had written on one of those days at work. The impetus for writing it was a conversation with my counselor. She had asked me what I wanted out of my marriage. I had started thinking of all the things that I had that I didn’t want, and I had started thinking about how I wished things were with X. Below is what I wrote that day. A lot of things are blatantly obvious to me as I read this now that were not when I wrote it. As I read it now I pay particular attention to the phrases that I repeat. I believe I wrote it sometime last summer, as I referred to it in a journal entry last September. Here it is:
What do I want out of my marriage? What do I want in a husband?
I want to be accepted fully. I want to feel safe. I want…
I want to feel that I can relax. I want to feel that the burden is shared. I want to feel pampered sometimes.
I want to feel so secure in his love. I want to know that even if I gain 100 pounds, he will still want me. I want to know that he loves my body. I want to know that he sees all of me and still loves me.
I want to know that he can take care of himself.
I want a husband who doesn’t want or need me to be his mother.
I want to know that he can take care of himself.
I want to know that his happiness does not depend on me.
I want to feel safe.
I have not felt safe. I stay in a state of fear.
I want to have no more “crazy fights.”
Why can’t I get what I want?
When I say what I need, I want to be heard. I want to be heard with my quiet voice, not just with my yelling, crying, freaking out voice. I want to know that he will value what I want and need, even if it is very different from his wants and needs, and even if he does not understand.
I want us to be two adults, independent, interdependent, but not dependent.
Two grown, individuated people who have chosen to meet life together.
I don’t want to feel stuck.
I don’t want to feel like I have no choice.
I don’t want to feel like I have to sublimate who I am to be safe. I don’t want to have to work so hard, juggling so many balls, in order to feel ok.
I don’t need him that much. I don’t need anyone that much.
I am part of this, too.
I want a marriage in which each person worries about their own feelings, and the other is there for support, but not to change the feelings, make them better, or talk the other person down.
I want more independence.
I want less enmeshment.
I said that I had a lot to say about Pesach, still, and that I would keep saying it, so here goes, I guess.
So Pesach (Passover) celebrates our redemption from slavery in Egypt. The name for Egypt in Hebrew is Mitzrayim, which literally means “narrow place.”
How interesting that the place of our communal slavery takes the name of a narrow place–a place where you can’t move freely, a place where you might feel trapped on both sides.
When I was with Mr. X, it seemed like so much of my life was spent walking a balance beam. There was no room to stretch out to the right or to the left. Everyday my focus was first on him–his mood would determine more than anything else how my day would go. I was always on edge, constantly looking out for situations that might tip his fragile balance.
And yet I told myself how fortunate I was to have found my “soulmate.” He would give me just enough to have me believe I was happy, or at least that if there was a problem, it was with me. At least, he used to do that. The last few months were the last few months precisely because I had learned to say “no,” and learned it better and better, but it never stopped scaring me, and I never stopped feeling the edges of that balance beam, fearing that I could fall off at any time.
I never did fall, but I jumped, and my hands still shake from time to time from the effects of it. But I am off of that balance beam for good. I am out of that narrow place. As hard as this time is–divorce, the practicalities and legalities and the healing and the hurting, it is so much better than living in those cramped quarters, not ever knowing if I was truly loved or not. Now I know that I wasn’t, not really, not by him. But I am now, by many others, and that knowledge is freeing.
As I was driving away during the Great Escape, through the small towns and across the state lines, it’s as if the geography of the countryside itself was reflecting my escape from Mitzrayim. The further I went, the sky seemed to open up as the land flattened and the trees became more sparse. It seemed as if the land itself was unlocking and standing open before me for the rest of my life, and all that lay behind me was Mitzrayim, was dark and tight and narrow, and all that lay ahead was bright and wide and mine for the taking. And these were a few days before Pesach and I was so aware of that time, that I was running from my own slavery, that I was going out to my own promised land, and that I might have to spend some time in a desert before getting there, but that I was on my way and I wasn’t going back.
“In every generation one must see oneself as if one had personally experienced the Exodus from Egypt. As it is written: ‘You shall speak to your children on that day, saying, this is how the Holy Blessed One redeemed me from Egypt. It wasn’t merely my ancestors who were redeemed, but the Holy Blessed One also redeemed us with them…’” (from the Haggadah)
Nothing profound here. Just somewhat overwhelmed by my feelings. I had an intense weekend reconnecting with some out of town family, including some little ones. Little ones and babies and moms, including my younger sister. Especially now, since the Great Escape, I don’t really know if I’ll ever get the chance to be a mom. When I was still with Mr. X, I figured I’d get to one way or another despite our fertility challenges, though I do recognize that probably was fairly arrogant of me.
Back when I had my old blog, there was something I couldn’t bring myself to write about (and probably a good thing, seeing as X was reading that blog) that happened a couple of weeks before my Big Realization (that our “problems” were really verbal/emotional abuse). I had been thinking about his unwillingness to seek help for his problems and just how HARD everything was for me with him. I was also thinking about a recent trip to visit my family and about how my sisters’ husbands were with them and their kids. I tried to imagine what my life would actually be like with Mr. X and a little one and it just hit me smack!: I knew I could never have children with him–regardless of fertility treatments, adoption, whatever. I knew that it could never happen with him as he was. I knew I could never do that–I didn’t know how I was going to avoid it, I just knew that I. could. not. do. it.
So, for those of you who “knew me then,” obviously I didn’t write about that, but it was pretty big. And a couple of weeks later I read The Verbally Abusive Relationship again, and the veil of denial came off for good.
But this weekend I was at my nieces’ birthday party and was around for the first time in a really, really long time a bunch of little kids, and babies, and moms and something inside me twinged. Or more than twinged, actually, more like crumbled. Since the Great Escape I hadn’t really been thinking about my need to have a child so much, which is good as I need so much of my energy right now just to take care of myself. But it became really real to me that I might never, really might never, have my own little one. It seems like I had my best shot with X (which we all know would have been a disaster), and now it’s gone. So I wasted my best years, my best shot on him, and who knows how long it will take for me to get my shit together to even be capable of being a mom, and now I feel like with all that he’s taken from me, wait!–here’s one more thing.
This wasn’t what I wanted to write. I wanted to write something about how, you know, it’s ok, really. I might be a mom someday or I might just be the greatest aunt ever, and I’m ok with that, but that’s not true. What I would have told you up through last month was that the greatest pain of my life was infertility–the pain of not being able to have a child. Now that I’m aware of all of this emotional abuse craziness, those two pains may be neck and neck for the Worst Pain Award, and I don’t know, the jury may be out for a while on that one.
So that’s where I am right now. And I know that I have so much good in my life. I have four beautiful nieces and one beautiful nephew. I have two amazing sisters. My parents have been more than I ever could have asked for. I strangely ran into an old friend this weekend in this strange town far from home and totally spilled my guts to him in the middle of a bookstore about what’s happened this last month and he was amazing and sent me the greatest email yesterday. A few people have contacted me to check on me and show their support once I let them in on what’s going on. I have wonderful friends who have all supported me. I have this blogging community, which helps me more than I can express.
And at the same time, I have this pain that seems to seep in through the cracks, it seems to reach up and grab me just when I’m letting the happiness take over.
I had been having foot pain for a while, so before the “big move” (aka the out of state escape) I promised the friend that helped me leave that I would start wearing the boot once I reached my destination. I’m pretty sure it’s a stress fracture, as I’ve had two confirmed in the last two years; this would make #3 in less than 3 years. The problem is a combination of some previous foot pain issues (unrelated to the stress fractures), my adjusted walking because of that pain, which puts too much pressure on different parts of my feet, and my tendency to ignore my pain. Yes, we’ll say that last one again. My tendency to ignore my pain. This last one we’re working on especially hard, classmates, and not just on my feet.
Here it is, the mighty boot:
As I said, I’m pretty sure that I have a stress fracture , as I know what they feel like, but I don’t want to shell out the dough to confirm it with an MRI. The treatment in the past was to wear the boot for a few weeks, so that’s what I’m doing. If the pain is still there after my boot regimen, OF COURSE I’ll see a doctor. For now, I’m bootin’ it.
See who else is sharing about their medical maladies this week over at Mel’s.
1) Infertility has been the pressure that has forced to the surface all of the problems that were in the relationship already, but hiding out of sight. Once the pain of infertility came, I couldn’t do the song and dance of making Mr. X happy all the time. I couldn’t put my feelings on the back burner to take care of his stress, because I was just having too many feelings to fit on the back burner. I was having too much grief. Once I stopped playing by our unwritten rules, things kind of started falling apart. Granted, it was a kind of fucked-up way to be relating to begin with, and I had glimpses of that before IF reared it’s ugly, ugly head, but I never said I didn’t have issues. Though I am working on them.
2) Mr. X has so much hurt inside and he has so many defenses built up. He is so incredibly defended against pain that he has also defended himself against love, against my love. So he can’t hear me when I try to talk to him. Literally. I don’t want to be that defended. One thing I have learned these last few months is that numbing myself to my pain doesn’t make it go away. I’ve also learned that my feelings won’t kill me and that often dreading them is worse than actually feeling them. I know that the way I have learned to deal with my pain and my stress over the last year has changed who I am. I don’t want to be so hardened, so defended that nothing gets in or out.
Now I read these and see all the red flags. Now I read the first one and read: song and dance, take care of his stress, our unwritten rules, making Mr. X happy all the time. Now it is so obvious to me and I just ask, how could I possibly not see it before?
I still have a lot to say about Pesach, and at the rate I’m going (or not going), I’ll probably need to still be saying it well past Pesach, even through Hanukkah if need be.
I have been re-connecting with friends, and that has been very, very good, but very, very intense. I had two very long conversations yesterday with two people with whom I hadn’t spoken in years, and it was wonderful, and it was exhausting. Today I’m shaking more than I have in days.
I wanted to reconnect with the bloggy world, not in small part because you all have given me so much, but at this moment I don’t have much to give back. I was wracking my brain with how to reconcile my desire to just. write. something. and this feeling of just wanting to crawl under the covers when I remembered that I had written something about what I am feeling right now in the now-defunct blog, and so I went a-looking. I found it, and I thought that I would just repost it, here. After all, it’s mine. In fact, I may repost some things now and again (like, um, tomorrow) when I’m feeling like I feel today. (Funny, for someone who doesn’t seem to have it in her to be able to post, I sure am being awfully wordy, huh?) So, below, is, back by nobody’s demand but my own, the post originally called “on avoiding my feelings,” (or something like that) in it’s entirety (it was a short one):
Through my journey of both IF and struggling with my compulsive eating, I have found that I have a million ways of pushing my feelings aside to the point that sometimes I’m not even aware that they’re there. I’m only aware of the food, or that I feel fat, or, or, or…
Last night I had one of those experiences. I had been feeling out of sorts all day, and pushing myself all day, and thinking of food all day, and eating all day. When I finally got alone with my thoughts, it just all poured out.
This reminded me of something I just read (actually re-read) recently:
“There are some feelings about which there is nothing to do. Some bad feelings simply need to be felt. Only after you begin to feel them will you be able to find enough inner comfort to address them.”*
May we all find the inner comfort today to attend to these feelings that must be felt.
From this book, of course.
Victoria requested doggy stories/updates, and, really, who could tell Victoria “no?”
I’m partly calling her Miss Famous to help my mom remember that she is all girl and not the boy-dog that she keeps trying to make her (she refers to her as he, him, etc.).
So Miss Famous has adjusted pretty quickly and enjoys having an eleven year old with ADHD around to play with every day and a 2 year old to chase around a couple of times a week.
Here’s where she sleeps (the ratty orange blanket is the same “bed” she’s had since the old house, and, yes, that is a closet she’s sleeping in, but, no, there are no doors on it):
There are a couple of things that are not as easy here. The first is that there is no fenced in yard and I am a bit paranoid about losing Her Dogginess, so off-leash time is extremely limited (we are a bit out in the country and dogs here are generally off-leash). The other is that her window time is more limited than in the old house. In the old place she had a big bay window, that was “her” window and she would basically sit there all day and watch the world go by when she wasn’t in her big fenced-in yard or on a walk. Here the windows are higher and she is not allowed on the furniture, so she can’t see out as much, but she does do this:
And also this:
See who else is showing and telling over at Mel’s.