Category Archives: old blog

here and now

First of all, a major thank-you to Kristin, who talked me down from the edge of paranoia yesterday.  I’d like to talk more about our conversation another time, because, well, she’s awesome, but I need to devote some more time to it, because, well,  she’s awesome.

Thanks in part to that conversation, but also in part to some thinking I’d been doing, already, I had one of those moments, while watching the fireworks last night.  It was a good moment, but kind of a, “this is my life, right now,” moments.  Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Well, this morning, I remembered a post from the old, defunct blog, that actually talks about this very thing:

I have this kind of default way of thinking about my life that I’ve been trying to resist for a while now.  I seem to always be living in the next step, living in the fantasy of the next day.  So much more of my energy seems to go to tomorrow, or next week, or when X happens, and so much less of it seems to go to today, right now, this moment, my life as it is.

Often, the thing that I see as missing in my life will take on some kind of magical quality.  Kate Harding calls this the Fantasy of Being Thin, but it can be the fantasy of getting married, being rich, having a baby, or just about anything that takes on this quality of “my life will be perfect if only X.”  I remember as far back as middle school, thinking about a classmate of mine, “What does she have to be unhappy about?  She’s got a BOYFRIEND.”  After all, that was all MY life was missing, wasn’t it?  If I had a BOYFRIEND then I would never be unhappy again.  All of my other problems would just fade away.  (Though looking back, of course, this over-focus on a boyfriend was a convenient and safe way to avoid facing some of the real dysfunction and pain in my life at home.)

A while back I started realizing how much I wasn’t living, how much my life was on hold.  I was just waiting for the magical baby to arrive (shortly preceded, of course, by the magical pregnancy).  I think since I got married, all of my energy has been so focused on “when I get pregnant” or “when I have a baby.”  (This, too, has been to avoid facing some pain and dysfunction, but that’s a story for another day.)  Since being married, my professional life hasn’t exactly gone as I would like it to and I haven’t put nearly as much effort or energy into friendships as I used to.  I’ve been lonely, bored, and disconnected.  All of this was ok, though, because pregnancy and baby were right around the corner, I just had to hang in there a little longer.  So I didn’t really put much energy into my life, I just kind of numbed out and hung all my hopes on the magical baby.

I have been learning, slowly but surely, two steps forward, 1.5 steps back, to live my life as it is, not as my fantasies would have it.  This can be hard, as the here and now is often so painful.  Recently I read this piece in Exhale magazine, and it really spoke to me.  The author says:

“No babies are going to solve my problems, or return to me what I feel I am ‘owed.'”

Real life doesn’t start when I get a boyfriend, or get married, or get pregnant, or have a baby.  Though it may be full of pain and dysfunction, real life is right now.

Once again, I have found myself living in a transitory state, living as if this is just an interim period in my life.  And in some sense it is.  But lately I find myself waking up to the world, and realizing (again) that my “real” life isn’t when the divorce is final, or when I get a “real” job, or move out on my own.  It is now, it is here, it is flying past like lightning.  I don’t want to miss any of it.

the Great Escape: part 4, deciding the decision

If you happen to be new to this saga, you can find the previous installments here:  Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.X

So at the end of the last post on this story, I found my self in the ultimate, “Oh, shit” moment.  I had just started reading Patricia Evans’s  The Verbally Abusive Relationship (which I just happened to have on my bookshelf–thankyouverymuch social work education), and was in shock because I recognized myself in its pages.

This was on Friday, March 13th.  I finished the book by the end of Saturday (while trying to keep the book hidden from X, no small feat, indeed).  On Sunday, I spoke to my friend, Cherry (the friend I refer to below), and to my mom.  Here’s what I said about it in my old blog:

And yesterday I called my mom.  I opened up a door there.  I don’t want this to be a secret anymore.  I’ve been hiding this, protecting him, and taking part in my own undoing for so long–because I never wanted anyone to think badly of him, of us.  Before today I had only ever told one friend about the things he has said to me, the belittling, crazy-making, scornful, sarcastic things he says to me.  I was so ashamed.

The next few days are somewhat of a blur.  I know that I was very much of two minds, and I was miserable.  I just kept saying , “No, no, this can’t be!”  This person I loved could not be an abuser!  I just could not integrate the information; it was as if I had been told he was an alien.  (After all, I helped other people who had been abused.)  And this, after everything I had been through.  Another part of me, the part that believed, the truest part of who I was, knew I couldn’t stay.  So I was split.  On Wednesday or Thursday (so March 18 or 19) I talked with my oldest friend by phone.  She commented that I kept saying that I didn’t know what I would do (stay or go), but I was talking like I was going to go.  My biggest grief was the dog, because I knew that leaving the dog would break me even more, but I didn’t see how I could take the dog from him.

Ah, yes.  About that.  You see, I was afraid that he would be a wreck if I left.  I was afraid that he would be suicidal.  Not that he had ever threatened suicide or anything like that, but I could just picture him in the corner with a bottle of pills and some razor blades or something…I now see this all as part of his manipulation from the beginning.  Always “afraid” I would leave.  Every fight mean that I was out the door.  So much of my agony during those days was about the pain I would be causing him.  As Cherry told me (in a different context, but still true), he trained me well.

At one point I found myself bargaining with God, offering to give up any chance for a child, ever, to just make him better.  Make it so I don’t have to do this thing.  Make it so he doesn’t have to hurt more.  (Trained very well, I would say.)

By the time a week had passed, by the next Shabbat, I… well, I’ll let the old blog tell you this one, too:

Around last Friday or Saturday I started feeling a peace about leaving.  And if there’s anything I’ve learned in my thirty-two years on earth, it’s to follow the peace.  When I think about staying, my stomach ties up in knots; leaving, I have peace.  Well, I should clarify.  When I think about having left, I have peace.  The actual transition process does not actually seem like a peaceful one to me.  But I am working on the details.

Over a week had passed, and I still had not opened up with anyone in my same city, and I knew I needed to.  Because of Mr. X’s position in our religious community, I knew that anyone in the Jewish world was out (again, I was protecting him–well trained).  That left people from work.  The problem was, I didn’t really have any friends–religious community, work, anywhere else.  I had work buddies, but nobody that I was really close with.  After some debate, and an insistent nudging in my brain, I spoke with my workmate, DD.  I hadn’t even known that she had previously worked at a domestic violence shelter, but there you have it.  Even though I had a “peace” about leaving, my time frame was quite fuzzy, and I was even thinking that I might stay a few months.  DD did her damndest to convince me to take advantage of Mr. X’s upcoming out-of-state job interview THAT COMING WEEKEND and get the hell out as soon as I possibly could.  I was still trying to pull the warm blanket of denial over my head, and didn’t think that I could get it together that quickly–I mean, in less than a week?  Was she crazy?

Well, all it took was really one evening together with X after feeling really committed to leaving and dealing with his mind-fuckery that I realized that the leaving date would need to be sooner rather than later.  The next day, I spoke with my supervisor at work, came clean about the fact that I hadn’t really done my job/paperwork  for about two months and explained why, got her blessing to get out of Dodge as soon as possible, and received some unsolicited advice to get an attorney ASAP.  Oh, yeah.  Mr. DD just graduated from law school (he was finishing up at the time), so DD was also pretty into the idea of my speaking with a lawyer.  I knew, also, that with some of X’s “issues” there would be no “trial separation,” and that divorce would really be the only way.  At this point I was still planning on leaving Miss Famous behind, as a “comfort” for him, as the last thing I could do for him.  Ahem.

Wednesday, March 25, I met with my attorney, whom friends of DD and Mr. DD helped me find.  I was about 95% sure about the whole thing, so he said he would draw up paperwork, and I could come back two days later to sign, or discuss it with him.  He also advised me to get half of our savings out, as it legally belonged to me.  That evening I started moving half of the money (online only account, it takes time to process).  The next day X was to leave for his out of town trip and was to be gone until Tuesday.  I felt fairly safe trying to move the money, as I was basically “mommy” with the money and took care of all the finances.  Much of the time X didn’t even seem to know how much was in the accounts, as every once in a while he’d have a minor freak-out and we’d have to sit down and look at everything together and then he’d calm down and see that we weren’t broke, after all.  The thing is, I could have blocked him out of the savings account, changed his password, etc., got my half of the money out, but I didn’t.  I purposefully didn’t.  I just didn’t.  Stupid, but I didn’t.

A couple of other things happened that Wednesday night.  I finally got a weird vibe about him and Dolores, the “friend” and married neighbor with whom he had been spending so much time.  She had come over for something, and, I don’t even know, something just struck me as off about the situation, that there was more going on there that meets the eye.  But my thought was, “Well, at least she’ll be here to comfort him.”

The next day was Thursday, March 26.  I went to work, and just before leaving to go pick up X to take him to the airport I went online to check on my transaction (to move half the savings out of our joint account per my attorney’s instructions).  Something looked like it had gone wrong with it.  Yep, he found it.  And cancelled the transaction.  And then I had to go drive him to the airport.  Freaked out?  Um, yeah.  Just a bit.

I suppose I could have called him and feigned an emergency meeting and asked him to get someone else to take him to the airport, but that denial was still good and strong.  He had never gotten physical with me, and so I just told myself that he never would.  Now I look back and I think how dangerous it was for me to go back to the house alone with him and drive in the car alone with him.  But I did it, thinking the whole time, that it would be my last time to be alone with him, that I just had to do this one last thing and I would be free.

To Be Continued…

plagiarizing part two: a bit of background

So I’m going to continue with the theme of the last post and re-post a bit from the old blog.  This piece is really interesting to me, because, when I read it in light of my realizing that the “problems in the relationship” were emotional and verbal abuse, it reads differently than I intended it when I wrote it (as do a lot of things that I wrote in my journals, etc. that I have looked at recently).  Though it’s not a lot of background, and for those of you who read the old blog, you read this before, but it might explain things, in light of the new paradigm.  This is not the entire original post, but it is the meat of it.  The post was called “two things.”  (Obviously I changed Mr. X’s name below as that was not what I was calling him before.)

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?

plagiarizing myself

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.