Category Archives: mr. x

snippet

It’s just about bedtime here, but I did want to tell you a quick little story.

Just now I decided to google ol’ whatshisface.  I know, I know—that way lies madness.

I had heard, through that damn grapevine, of course, that X would be making a cross-country move for a new job—back to the congregational life for him.  I had been checking here and there around the webosphere, just to know when he made his move (I want to be sure to know where he lives so that I can stay far away :)).

Well, I found it—he’s moved, there is mention made of Mrs. X and all I felt was…

relief.

I was just so relieved not to be there with him, living that life, playing that role again.  No angst, no conflicting emotions, just relief.

Good night, dear friends.

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to the new mrs. x on her wedding day

He’s your problem now, honey.

Good luck.

scapegoat

Thank you for your kind comments on my last post.  When things seem better with my sister I will let you know.

The thing is, for a really long time, I blamed all the dysfunction in my family on her illness—on her, really.  She was a pretty convenient scapegoat for my discontent with the dynamics in my family—for my sense of over-responsibility, for my parents’ leaning on me more than was healthy, for any number of things.  When I stayed at my parents’ house last year for a few months, it was not always the most pleasant experience, but it was invaluable to me for the things it taught me about myself and my family, particularly as I could observe my parents raising a child (my 12 year old niece lives with them).

One of the big things I realized back then was that even if my older sister didn’t have bipolar disorder, my family would most likely have the very same dysfunction, a very similar way of coping, a similar way of dealing with each other.  So much for my sister, the scapegoat.  I would hear the things my parents would say as they were dealing with my niece, and I realized that who they are and the way they see the world goes back a lot farther than my sister’s illness.  And my over-responsibility and hyper-self-criticism would likely be there no matter who my siblings were or the state of their mental health.

It was almost too easy to blame it all on my sister.  If it’s her fault, the rest of us are off the hook, aren’t we?  My parents are off the hook, and what child doesn’t want parents who are not the cause of her pain and insecurity?

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There’s another scapegoat in my life.

He’s not exactly the same as my sister, but I definitely found it very easy to place all the blame for my unhappiness at his feet.

And he’s no angel.  He’s done plenty.  I’m not letting him off the hook here.

What I realized a couple of days ago was that I am the same.

A huge X-shaped stress is out of my life, but how I respond to stress is the same as when we were together.

I have been trying to be more aware of how I hold stress in my body and the other day I noticed that a response to stress I had—holding every muscle in my body tightly, my breath frozen—felt very much like what it felt like when I was with X, but this time  he was nowhere to be found.

I take myself with me, apparently.

I didn’t suddenly become a different person the moment I was away from my abuser; I still have that over-responsibility and hyper-self-critical nature.  Life will not stop serving me up experiences to challenge my equilibrium.

I’m looking into learning new ways of dealing with life’s disequilibrium, with my emotions and responses, and I feel hopeful about seeing progress.  It is too easy to give X the blame for all my unhappiness.  If it’s his fault, then I’m off the hook, right?  The problem is, keeping the focus on him keeps me from finding a real solution.

what it’s about

(ICLW intro post is here)

One thing I’ve been working on in this whole “divorce recovery” and “emotional abuse recovery” process is being okay with my progress.  This may be the most difficult task of all for me—being okay with myself.

Mr. X did not treat me well.  We’ve been over that before.  The thing is, by the time I met him, the messages I would hear from him about my unacceptability were already ingrained in my deepest beliefs; he just rode the train tracks that were already in place.

So this “recovery” is not just a recovery from our breakup, or from our relationship, but from the messages I’ve heard and believed about myself my whole life.

When I spoke to my therapist this week about learning of X’s impending marriage, and the fact that they were officially together so much earlier than I thought, she surprised me a bit with her response.  She said,  “As I heard you talking about this, it was obvious to me that these feelings you’re having are really about your family, not about him.”  Huh.  Well, yeah, okay.

For reasons that have to do partly with my parents, and partly with myself, I have always felt insecure, always felt that I had to mold myself a certain way in order to be found acceptable.  So when X came along, the patterns I fell into with him felt very familiar in a very deep way.

The best thing that I take from my disastrous relationship with X is that this pain I’ve experienced has helped me to become more aware of the ways in which I need healing, and motivated  me to do the necessary work for that healing.  If things hadn’t turned out so spectacularly bad with X I may have just bumbled through life without ever deeply examining why I am so hard on myself, why I persistently feel inferior, and why I have exhibited such poor boundaries in some of my relationships, much less worked on doing anything about it.

So that’s kind of a lot.  And I’m really working on cutting myself some slack for not just being “over it,” because this is about so much more than a six year mistake.  It’s about my life.

with weekends like this…

It kind of makes one yearn for the workweek.

The trip to see my family was not all I had hoped for.  My older sister, who has bipolar disorder, just had to get her medication adjusted because she’s been cycling up into a manic phase.  The good news is that she went to the doctor on her own and has been fairly open about what’s been going on.  The bad news is that she’s taking it all out on her daughter, my 12 year old niece who lives with my parents.  I’m very proud of my sister that she went to the doctor on her own, I’m worried that she’ll get sicker and stop taking her medication (which is usual for people in a manic phase), and I’m pissed at her that she’s being so awful to my niece.

I got back late last night and today I’ve been holed up in my room, napping and watching silly TV shows.  I did a little internet search and found out that Mr. X is getting married in June.  Saw their wedding website and everything.  I think I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop since I found out they were living together.  I think it just dropped.  I don’t know if I am in shock or if I’m really not that upset.  I’m probably just in shock.

Maybe I’ll write something reflective about this later.  Right now I’m just going to go back to the silly TV shows and snuggling with the dog.

real

So I was very antsy tonight.  I was watching a DVD on my computer (Nurse Jackie, if you’re interested), but I kept pausing it about every five minutes or so to check Face.book, to check Bloglines, to get a snack, to open the fridge and stare blankly at it’s contents before closing the door, to check the laundry, to do nothing.  I had had kind of a down feeling all evening (actually, since the afternoon), and the good part is that it feels different than it felt before, I could just notice it, it didn’t engulf me.  Still, it was there, and I kind of wondered what it was about, but not too much, I mean, not to the point that I actually tried to figure out what was going on.  Right.

So I was away from the computer and the DVD for a few moments and it hit me, square between the eyes:  I miss him.

And I don’t have to remind myself that I’m so glad to not be with him, and I don’t have to remind myself of how awful it could be to live with him, to be tethered to him, because that part never leaves me.  I don’t forget that part.

What I forget is that I had fun with him.  What I forget is that the most exciting times of my life were spent with him.  What I forget is that I was in love with him.  What I forget is that I’m probably still in love with the person I thought he was.

For about a week or so I’ve been having these really good memories of X and me.  Memories that make me happy to remember them.  Very bittersweet.  Memories of feeling happy with him.  (And again, no need to remind anyone of who he really is, and what he really did, because that’s the part that doesn’t go away.)

It’s been kind of amazing to reconnect with the happy pieces, because, well, without them it’s like the six years or so we were together just becomes a black hole, pages ripped out of a diary.

I was talking to my friend, Cherry, about this earlier this week, about how I’ve been remembering good things, and not feeling awful about it.  She said, good, this is more real.

Real.

The thing is, it’s so much easier not to miss him.  It’s so much easier just to focus on the waste, on the sadness, on how much I have left to heal, on how much he took from me.  That’s easier, believe it or not.  To only see the shadows of our time together.

That’s easier, because then I don’t have to miss him.  I don’t have to miss how it felt to share so many inside jokes with him.  How I would just say a couple of words, and he would know the whole story behind them.  How it felt to laugh with him.  How it felt when we were happy.  How good it was when it was good.

But this is real.  This isn’t a fairy story where things are strictly “good” or “bad.”  This is not black, is not white.  This is starting to see the picture as a whole—the shadows, the light, the color, the darkness.

And it’s sad.

And sometimes it feels like such a waste.

And I know I have much left to heal.

And I know that he took so much from me.

And I miss him.

meanwhile…

Well, though I was in a blogging funk, and didn’t update for over a week, and the last few posts before that were about how I was in a general funk, life did continue to swirl around me, cooking up its usual mischief.  So this is an outline of the things that I was wishing I had had the energy to blog about at the time:

◊  I had a big conflict at work last week with my boss.  It’s a bit convoluted to go into here, but the important part is that I stood up for myself (despite being SUPER scared) and walked right into the conflict and came out alive.  For someone who used to be called “The Queen of Conflict” (by one of my besties), I sure have backslid a lot in my approach to/fear of conflict.  I had made so much progress in this area, oh yeah, before Mr. X was in my life.  Like in so many other things, my self confidence for confrontation has taken quite a beating.  But I’m coming back.

◊  A really good friend of mine, who I hadn’t seen for years (she moved out of the country) is back in the States for a visit this month.  I got to see her last week briefly, and she’ll be coming back at the end of this week to spend two nights.  It really did my soul a lot of good to be around someone who gets me.  I think that her being here was the last little boost I needed to get out of the slump I was in.

◊  Saw the family for my dad’s birthday.  My older sister, who is bipolar, but has been managing her illness extremely well the last three years or so, was there.  Over dinner she talked about a reaction to a medication she was put on for a sinus infection.  I told her about how a friend of mine is on that same medication long-term and she has some of the same side effects (primarily, not being able to sleep without a sleeping pill).  I didn’t think too much about the conversation other than feeling bad for my sis.  Later, she pulled me aside and thanked me for telling her about my friend.  Apparently she was worried about herself, worried that she could be going into a manic phase (the “up” end of bipolar vs. the “down” end of depression—mania’s no picnic).  It was so amazing, amazing for her to talk to me about this. (She used to NEVER discuss her illness with anyone in the family.  Ever.)  A few years ago I had given up hope that she would ever be “okay” for any significant length of time, and here she is talking about her illness, being aware of her symptoms, taking care of herself.  I almost made this my perfect moment for the week, but the other post just kind of wrote itself first.  I wrote about my sis a while back here.

◊  I’ve had really conflicting feelings lately about Mr. X and “Dolores,” who are living together now.  When I imagine them together, part of me is so relieved to not be with him, to not be in the middle of all that crazy-making.  Part of me, however, feels incredibly rejected, having been “replaced” so quickly and I can’t help but compare myself to her, and feel like a failure.  Not logical, I know, but that’s the way feelings go sometimes, isn’t it?

◊  I am currently in the middle of my spring break.  With my job, I get the same holidays that the teachers in the local school district get (except for summer break, boo), so I am off this week, and thoroughly enjoying it.  The only downside is that I probably won’t adjust to Daylight Savings Time until next week, when I actually have to get up in the morning at a certain time, and not just when Miss Famous decides her bladder can’t wait any longer.