Category Archives: marriage

V For Victory?

(October 4, 2015) My husband is cheating on his girlfriend. I’m not joking. Sometimes the weirdness of life just writes itself – the comedy of errors in high def.

However, I’m not laughing … yet. Instead, my disgust has risen to new heights, it disturbs me so. And I’m perturbed that I’m so disturbed by it. The pang of this discovery hit me like the jab and twist of a dull knife – THE dull knife that has been lodged in my side for years now, the one I thought I’d finally become numb to.

But not so. I asked myself the tough questions: Why does this fling bother me? Why should I care? Do I regret the ending of the relationship but pretend not to? Am I jealous of who the new fling is? Or has my pride thoroughly been shaken and my ego wounded? Why does it bother me so? The questions ran a loop in my head for 24 hours as I sought to be honest with myself, even if it stung. Perhaps this was my opening to remove the knife from my body once and for all. Why did I just leave it there in the first place? Had I not healed and progressed as much as I thought I had?

I was doing so well, or so I thought, cutting verbal contact with him the day my big, sweet, special, beloved, ginger, boy cat crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on July 11, 2015. I’m still grieving for him and the two others I’d lost – the ex-neighbor man’s orphans – all within a two-month period. But the trauma of the abruptness and sudden mysterious illnesses and deaths of my kitties shattered all that was unnecessary in my mind. It felt like then was a good time to cut the pretenses that me and the almost-ex were friends. Nope. Friends like those made me want to be alone. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, but I certainly wasn’t in the mood for his “obligatory” condolences. He had turned a cold heart to my kitties once the girlfriend situation was an official go. It was bizarre and sad. The kitties didn’t understand the coldness.

I was adapting well and filling my time during that time of very little contact. I updated my resumé and sent out some queries, that have since been rejected. But some contact had to be maintained via email because no one can just can’t go ignoring the bills. I’d itemized some things and sent an email notice, which got ignored. After a few days I sent another saying it was uncool to ignore my emails and to make me feel like I was begging. He finally texted a response the other day, saying he took care of business. Then he asked how I was doing, since it had been so long that we last spoke.

I was fine, I replied, busy transcribing my poetry so I could organize it and enter the manuscript into a contest, which I did. It was poetry I’d written 30 years ago – stuff he didn’t seem interested in looking at when I mentioned them in the beginning of our relationship. I replied to him that in reading those poems while transcribing them, I thought some were surprisingly good, while others were like, “meh.”

“You are your own worst critic,” he texted back. “You are a good writer.”

As I continued on with a few more texts, including thanking him for the compliment, I realized that his responses came fewer and farther between. He must have been preoccupied by another because he’d stopped in “mid-sentence.” I figured the girlfriend called and he opted to show her some respect by not subjecting her to the constant buzzing of his endless text alerts. (Vibrate mode is not very quiet!). I told him once he was worse than a 13-year-old with the texting. He could barely converse with me in real life when he came to visit. Personally, I’d rather stay mobile and talk hands free than be stuck having to stare at the screen.

The whole text encounter simmered in the back of my mind for the next 24 hours. I didn’t understand why it nagged at me. This should not bother me to this degree. Yet it made my stomach ache. The next day I checked the phone site, which I hadn’t done in a long time! I saw that I was sort of right. Texts began with the other precisely when I thought they had – that point where I was basically dropped in mid-text . The predominant phone number on the bill was the real shocker. It was the fling’s number, not the girlfriend’s, that filled page upon page of the phone bill. The texts with the fling that evening led to a long phone call. While he was texting and chatting it up with the fling, the girlfriend called! A kind of long conversation with her, then back to texting the fling. None of this should have bothered me, yet I obsessed over it.

Come to find out, the text exchanges between he and the fling are daily, for hours on end, usually in the evening and lasting into midnight some nights. The massive data amounts listed between the texts were probably FaceTime® video chats. Their video conferencing escapades probably centered around a lot of tits and ass, six-pack abs and v-spot shots – exhibitionists that they both are. Whichever of her ex husbands or boyfriends forked out the dough for her overly-sized fake breasts did her and the rest of the female population no favors. Her reputation for barraging mostly married firemen with sexts of nudie and boobie shots of herself precedes her. She cares not one iota about the carnage left in her wake. He once texted me a selfie with him bare-chested, “getting ready to start the day,” it said. It was unprovoked, came out of nowhere, and I didn’t reciprocate. I thought nothing of it at the time. Now it makes perfect sense. But still, why did it consume me?

It was while images like those flashed in my mind, like a waking nightmare, that I thought back on my first encounter with the fling a decade ago. We were her customers in the little shop of horrors she managed, buying phones and a service contract. He’d met with her earlier but he needed my presence because it was my credit that allowed the purchase and contract of those new, expensive phones. The experience was uncomfortable for me and the blatant disrespect too much. Her customer service tactics involved ignoring the wife and leaning in toward the man with her low-plunging neckline “office” wear. No, I did not like her and I told him about it later. It fell upon dead ears. Their friendship was already blossoming and I felt like I’d interrupted a private running joke. Yeah, I had. The joke was on me.

“Nah,” he said. “We’re just friends. She’s friends with all the guys. Besides, what would she want with an old guy like me?”

I could always see past his false modesty. He didn’t wear it well. “You’re a man with an insurance plan! Age doesn’t matter! She and her child need the security! Besides, don’t you think [her employer] would be appalled at how she’s using that small-town phone shop as her viper lair?”

So, there it was, the truth, spilling out and leaving a big sloppy mess for me to clean up inside my head. Why did this newest and latest bother me so? I finally figured it out. Truth is, I was played! I married a cad. His need to seek adoration from every single woman he encounters was and is insatiable. His mighty ego needs a constant stroking. When the love hangover fades to sobriety, real life is just too incredibly boring for him. He savors the rush adrenaline junkies get  sneaking “innocent” flirtations with every woman who is not his wife. And he does so without conscience.

Oh, how we fought about these women. Oh, how he became so harshly defensive, telling me I was a sick and jealous person, which made me ugly. He felt entitled to “spread it around” like Johnny Appleseed. Basically, as long as he was bringing home the bigger paycheck, I should just suck it up, trust him, and greet him with a big hug when he came home. But I could not trust him. The man has no three-foot circle – the cone of lookie but no touchie. He is the master of mixed messages. He misleads women, making them think he is available and then feigns innocence when a woman tries to get close. To argue with him about boundaries was to dredge up something that would read like Bill Clinton’s testimony about his (non)relationship with Monica Lewinsky.


keepcalm-o-matic dot co dot uk

The most gut-wrenching part of it, I came to understand, was that after all this time I was right about the fling and all the other “women-friends”! It has all come to pass. I went through years of counseling with the issue still unresolved. I was gaslighted by him – made to feel crazy. I was broken and needed fixed. It was too much trouble for him to reassure me. He didn’t want to seem like an asshole to strangers (women) by bringing the niceness home to me instead of sharing it with the outside world. No, the ugly, insecure and verbally abusive part of him was reserved especially for me – and the first wife, so I was told.

This is a huge victory, but one that I am still absorbing. It’s not easy to accept that my marriage was not real – that it was all for show. It’s not easy to accept that I married a man incapable of real love and that I was too wounded to notice. But these recent revelations are beginning to change my life in a most profound way. I am starting to be  for the lessons he taught me. Never again. I am worthy of real and true unconditional love. Once that victory seeps into every molecule that combines my cells with the cells of the universe, I will forever revel in it.

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Filed under awakening, cad, cheating, divorce, dysfunction, empowerment, failed marriage, growth, human nature, life, marriage, mental health, narcissism, psychology, relationships, self-love, self-worth, wellness

Alone Again, Naturally.

“show me a spark
directionless, i’m lost
light up the dark
& thaw the frost

throw me a rope
not the hangin’ kind
i need some hope
to free my mind”
~hmt 2/20/12

(June 15, 2015) Hello, it’s me. I thought about y’all for a long, long time. In my absence there has been some positive and forward motion, even if only seemingly superficial. There is still fear and doubt. There are still no clear answers to the question of who I am and how should I proceed with life. The confusion and uncertainty have me feeling as if I’m 54 going on 18 – out on my own for the first time with no direction or purpose. Perhaps the answers I seek are cemented too deeply by the density of the fears and doubts that have paralyzed me lately – even physically at times.

To exacerbate matters more in my quest to save myself from myself, I have no where to turn in the physical world but inward. I’ve been “in” for some time now and I guess I’ll be here awhile longer. The light within is still too dim to make sense of all the junk and the treasures hidden in the attic of my mind. There’s something of epic proportions waiting to let loose. I’m tiptoeing all the way back to childhood to identify and hone in on the hurt that needs to be caught and released. However, on the plus side, there is now some light where there was none before. For that I am grateful!

Floundering about in the muck desperately seeking salvation creates a hopeless cycle of neediness, rejection and self-sabotage. That heavy needy vibe hangs over us as we spin on our heels looking outside for answers. Then rejection by people for having come across as “too intense”. Finally, by whichever method of self-sabotage we choose, we indulge, thereby pushing people even further away. Back to square one … again. It’s a less than ideal existence. I’m in limbo. Fear and doubt have me cornered.

Synchronicity revealed itself in a tweet I came across the other morning by @leebokseong2, a Malaysian Buddhist poet and philosopher on Twitter®. It read:

“In a struggle … Each of us has to find his salvation
Each of us has to purify his mind
All done by oneself.”

It struck a chord with me so I retweeted it and followed that with my own thoughts:

“i can definitely vouch for the ‘all by yourself’ stmt. hard not to be resentful that no1 else gives a shit. finally over it now”

I’m “over it” only because I’m finally starting to accept the fact that I am my own salvation. I had to admit that deep down I was waiting to be rescued – for people in my life to do the right thing. I waited for any kind of clear and tangible rescue from the universe. None materialized. At times I resented the universe for leaving me stranded. Was I not a worthy person?

Early on, one of the most bizarre things I saw was that while in the throes of a painful major growth-spurt, people – friends and family included – tended to shy away or flat-out ignore me. Not all, but most. If they did acknowledge me, they withheld compassion and words of encourage. Small talk. Fake kisses and hugs. Not exactly what I was hoping for. Is my karma that bad?! Had I done something so unforgivable? Methinks not, but you never know another person’s level of unforgiving.

As an INFJ (take the Myers-Briggs test here) with INFP cognitive processes (find yours here!) and a highly sensitive person, how people regarded me came across as icy cold. In subdued earnestness, I tried to connect with people who sadly didn’t want to connect or reconnect with me. This past weekend reality hit me in a do-or-die sort of way. Why did I feel so strongly that I needed anything from anyone? And why was I so incapacitated when no one heard my cries for help?

I swore I was not going back to being that clingy little junior high girl who wanted so much to fit in and be accepted. I kept that sad little girl at bay all these years but after recent major losses and changes, she came creeping back. Decades later, I am beginning to embrace the fact that I AM ALL THAT I HAVE AND HAVE ALL THAT I NEED! The wait is over! I’m the heroine I’ve been looking for all these years! HUZZAH!!!

The world can be a brutal place for us misfits, sensitives and wandering souls. People don’t like broken things. It’s partly why any level of mental health issues are not discussed much in the public arena. None of us really knows what to do with a “wounded” person. So we add insult to injury by shunning them – or unintentionally patronizing them. I realize there are varying degrees of neediness and there are career drama queens (and kings) whose modus operandi is to suck the ever-livin’ life out of people. Those types don’t appreciate the concern others have for them. Their needs are insatiable. I’m definitely not of this lot and never was.

In fact, in the not too distant past I was strong and thriving. I was ambitious and energetic. I was funny and creative. I didn’t let jealous naysayers get me down … much. I reached out to those old friends, hoping they’d remember that old me and by reconnecting it would awaken that part me again. I hoped they’d make exception to my current state of confusion by offering kindness. A simple, but genuine, “You can do this!” would have worked wonders and been greatly appreciated. I now see deeper value in the words last year of a passing stranger – a sort of mantra I must adapt for myself: “If I had your looks and talents I’d be taking the world by storm right now!”

I believe our duty in life is to find – and live – our own truths and share our unique gifts. In doing so, we will one day all converge somewhere in the middle to share and grow together – as humans. As mammals. As inhabitants of Earth. As dots in this universe. To make this seemingly elusive dream easier we must desperately seek to be our own best friend, accept ourselves completely and unconditionally and know that we are as worthy as everyone else to live a happy life. Better late than never.

Love and light, spirit travelers.


Filed under awakening, divorce, dysfunction, empowerment, failed marriage, growth, human nature, life, marriage, mental health, psychology, relationships, wellness

Purgatory — Warning: Adults Must Be Accompanied By A Child In The Pool

(June 18, 2014) The ups and downs of grieving over my dead marriage and directionless life seems mostly to consist of downs. The couple of days of “victory” (peace of mind, strength and sureness) were fleeting and seen now only in the rear-view mirror of my mind. Now I’m back in the quicksand pit of self-pity. All that energy, drive and hope I mentioned in the last post, zapped! I have to push through the day just to get the basics done. Victory eludes me again and like a broken record I ask the universe repeatedly: Who am I? What is my purpose here? To what do I owe this displeasure? Why can’t I hang on to that peace, strength and sureness?

It’s truly daunting to wind up back at square one again. Even knowing that energy follows thought and that I can create my reality, I can’t seem to dig myself out of the sty that is the negativity that haunts me. I know I have to dig deeper — into the dark crevasse in my heart — to uncover, stare down the pain and banish it once and for all. Instead, this past week I’ve engaged in various destructive, empty avoidance behaviors, like watching too much TV and talking to myself on Twitter and Facebook. But a big, noteworthy plug here is that I’ve dawdled that time SOBERLY!!! Though I’m grateful that at least the momentum is sticking on that note, the cesspool of self-pity is about as bad as any booze hangover I’ve experienced.

So, back to the drawing board. How do I give myself a hand up to lead a more functional and productive existence? How do I summon the strength and courage to face the hurts in that dark place in my heart so I can finally put it behind me? What thing has its grips on me so tightly that I can’t seem to break free of it? How many times can I repeat to myself, “Be brave!”, before I feel I’ve gone off the deep end? I grasp for answers and the reply I get is, “What was the question again?” But I’ve stumbled upon the key to the dark place in my heart: forgiveness.

Yet another exhausting conversation with my mom — the first in more than a week — sparked my discovery. Mom preaches forgiveness all the time and tells me that the root of my problems is that I blame her for all of my problems. I need to find forgiveness, she says. But I find this statement the height of hypocrisy, because if there’s one person in my life who harbors a lot of deep resentment and anger, sadly it is my mother. For someone who says, “Don’t dwell on the past,” when it’s to her advantage, she throws it in my face every single time we talk. She engages in a full-on character assassination, telling me of my supposed ineptness as a human being, devoid of any compassion for anyone but myself. She uses this ugly false warped opinion of me to play the victim and gain sympathy from her friends. I drain myself playing the defensive and trying to refute all the poison she throws out at me. I don’t know what to say to get her to stop and look inside at the root of her own dark crevasse in her heart.

Today I told her that I would so easily forgive the past if it stayed in the past. Because I don’t roll over and accept that I am this supposed selfish person incapable of love for anything but my cats, there is emotional hell to pay. This is the kind of stuff she tells her friends and our relatives overseas but it couldn’t be further from the truth. My acknowledgment of a hurtful past is not me placing blame on anyone. But she can’t very well face, much less vocalize, the deep resentment she harbors for my father, the sperm donor who couldn’t take “no” for an answer. It might reveal that at the crux, she resents my ever being born. It seems I’m not the only one with mental housecleaning to do. But since I can’t even lead that horse to the water, I must find that oasis and save myself and hope that one day she finds it too.

Also disturbing about today’s conversation was that mom gloated on the fact that she spoke to my “soon-ish to-be” ex a couple of days ago. They chit-chatted about the new girlfriend and, by the tone of her voice, I could only glean that my mom actually told him she was happy for him! She also knew that he was coming down next week to officially tell me he’s moving on, face-to-face, he says, because he respects me. So he had informed me in a text. But wading in the murk of the trough that is the daddy of all mother-daughter dysfunction, it forced me to seek problem-solving answers.

I came across an informative article from the “Guide to Psychology” simply titled “Forgiveness.” I highly recommend reading it! A couple of lines stuck out, one being: “… even though someone hurts you and refuses to apologize, and even if it means that the relationship cannot be repaired, you can still offer forgiveness — for the sake of your own mental health.” The article defines forgiveness as “the refusal to hurt the one who has hurt you.” Forgiving requires empathizing with the one who hurt you. The “therapeutic task” mentioned in the article is to “admit all of your childhood hurt, not blame your parents, but to allow the light of honesty to heal all wounds.” Wow!

But, as with all great steps toward self-actualization, there are painful drawbacks to forgiveness and “one major psychological complication,” the article says. And that is: “You cannot forgive someone until you have fully felt the pain he or she has caused.” Voila! There you have it! Pain is unavoidable in growth. That is the life-saving homework I’ve been avoiding for decades. I’ve been treading the slimy waters of purgatory for so long that I fear grabbing hold of the barbed wire that’s been thrown out to save me. I’ve turned the hurt from others on to myself and it’s stunted my growth, my victory. But I have an idea that’s been brewing in my head for years — a sort of exorcism — that I’m ready to throw myself into wholeheartedly. The time has come. Victory is certain when this work is done. Because, seriously, I’ve come so far for it not to. I’ll keep y’all apprised of my progress.


Filed under alcoholism, awakening, divorce, dysfunction, failed marriage, growth, human nature, life, marriage, mental health, psychology, relationships, wellness

Skeletons In The Closet — Dead Can Dance!

wash, rinse, repeat
“he was someone else’s when we met
now you’ve snared him in your net!
one flick of a switch, i was easy to forget
but this too you’ll learn with much regret.”
~ by moi

(June 4, 2014) My urge to write sat on the back burner these past few days. Not that I was avoiding writing! There was just something more pressing I needed to do. I had the urge to purge — to release, to let go, to set free! I combined two much-needed tasks & in doing so I managed to clean out the closets and clear away some of the skeletons that dwell in my mind.

I have a lot of clothes. Way too many clothes. Some I’ve never worn except the one time, to model them for the soonish-to-be ex. I’m a thrift store junkie. What began in childhood as an embarrassing and stigmatized necessity grew to a full-fledged addiction. The thrill of the bargain-hunt filled many holes in my life during bouts of the blues. I took it to an excess that bordered on certifiable. But now, Driven, obsessed, I had to get rid of as much as I could in what wound up being 8-hour days. I worked feverishly for three — or was it four? — days straight. The shit had to go!

During the process, thoughts gushed out of me like a busted fire hydrant as I let myself become drenched in self-pity. It began as pining and fortunately dwindled to resigning. Before I stopped obsessing over the phone bill, I saw a significant amount of texts back and forth to a hippie hitchhiker chick. And, of course, there were tons of calls, texts and likely facetime to the new girlfriend. (A side note: I wonder if the new girlfriend knows about the free-spirited hippie chick?) I was pining in a bad way, remembering a time, before the internet and cellphones, when we left each other sexy little stickie notes and doted on each other in every way possible. It hurt me deeply. We were on somewhat good terms before the new girlfriend entered the picture. Every sappy Air Supply song haunted my reverie and choked my air supply, particularly All Out Of Love. And it hurt worse because of the way he chose to cut me off completely, save a “business” text & a brag text as to his whereabouts. A bike race, of course. One of those texts to me seemed out of context. When I looked at the phone bill I saw he was texting me, the hippie chick and the new girlfriend at the same time. Mystery solved. That was the last time I looked at the phone bill. Qu’est ce que c’est? Oui, boy howdy.

While my mind winced in pain about the abrupt finality of my marriage, I began to wonder if I would ever experience that fresh honeymoon stage again? I wondered if I could enchant or be enchanted ever again. Not that I’m looking for a man now, but it was a rude awakening to see that I related so well to Steve Carell’s sad, lonely character in “Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World.” Nonetheless, I’ve got to fix me — once and for all!

As piles and piles of clothes lay strewn like old bones across my living room floor, I reached the resigning phase. I almost short-circuited my brain pondering my future and how I might continue on. I thought a lot about writing and how I must take it seriously and not let this gift run away from me again! I was bursting at the seams and teeming with ideas. Books and poems wrote themselves in my head. I’d hoped these ideas weren’t fleeting wishful thoughts, but instead, attainable goals not far from reach. I kept repeating in my head, I am in charge of my reality! Quietly, it’s sinking in.

There’s still a lot of thinning out I must yet do — both internally and externally. But as in my mind, what thinning out I’ve done thus far was inspiring and gave me more space to dance with those skeletons in my closet.

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Filed under awakening, divorce, dysfunction, failed marriage, growth, life, marriage, mental health, relationships, wellness

Hell-O Again!

(May 25, 2014) Almost two years later I shudder when I look back at my blog posts from The Great Chemo Days In The Desert 2001. It’s like someone else took over my mind and wrote those words. It’s like someone else took over my body and lived that life. Something deep within erupted. I’m still reeling a little from the fall-out. Likely, it was the “Riba Rage”, so common with the chemo drug Ribavirin – a sort of angsty truth serum. But the last entry punched me in the gut with its profundity. It’s the point where I remain stuck. When I wrote it I still had four weeks of chemo to go, but felt more hope and conviction than I do now. Or was it Ribavirin false bravado?

There have been many starts and stops since chemo ended on October 30, 2011. Mile-markers whiz by me as I continue going through the motions of restarting my life. A year later, still weak from chemo but “high” on Ribavirin, I moved to a new city. (Yes! Those chemo drugs stick around for a long time!) Once here, it was an unraveling of health issues, adding new alphabet to my already thick and chunky soup. There was the IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Then came the ISC/PBS (Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome). It was obvious my nerves were haywire. And then it was one step forward and three hobbles back with three back-to-back foot surgeries. It’s been almost a year since the first one and I’m still recovering from the last one, which healing still has months to go. On the plus side, I’ve made up for a lot of lost time both inside and outside my new home in these past two months with sub-par but adequate mobility and energy. How sweet it is!

But mentally, those mile-markers were merely illusions, as I have seemingly failed to move forward in that arena. The roller-coaster ride that is my marriage recently went off track and is now free-falling into an abyss. Within a month the Master of Mixed Messages abruptly went radio silent, cutting me off completely. With a little detective work, I find that it’s been a busy month and he’s rapidly moving on with his life with a new woman, “honeymooning” in Hawaii, cashing out his family’s trust in Utah and house-hunting in Colorado. Problem is, we’re still married — tied together by assets he’s done nothing towards liquidating because his priority is him and his next adrenaline rush. He hasn’t bothered to tell me what his plans are — or that he’s even got a replacement — but he’s shirking his current obligations, that’s for sure. He missed the past two alimony payments and paid only because I had to email him twice to remind him. He was out of cell range, he said. Yeah, Hawaii is far but not Third World. And now he’s missed this last one which is shooting red flags out of a canon right about now. I fear that all the muff diving and pillow talk has choked his sense of reason and he may yet walk away from his responsibilities to me, his “old” obligation, because he’s got the new one to hide behind. Anything is possible because the game has changed completely!

But I needed that big cosmic wake-up call. It’s clear now where I stand, all doubts shattered. My Karmic lesson is painful and has come back to bite me in the heart. I’ll never again fall for the sad story of the unhappily married man who sleeps on the couch because his ogre wife is a cold fish and it’s zapping his life of all meaning and he feels dead inside … except when he’s with me. Etc. etc. etc. It’s come full circle, that Karma. But in it I see a pattern emerging and I pity the new one. Hers will be a similar life played out, same as mine, when it stops being fun or she falls ill or is severely injured.

A segment in a true crime TV show grabbed my attention last weekend and momentarily pulled my thoughts out of its spin cycle. A man meets a new woman but has an “old” one but it doesn’t stop him from running off with the new one. After three years marriage he wants out because he’s bored and met yet another new woman. So he kills the “old” new one to be with the new new one. The criminal psychologist said that people who move from one relationship to another like this man are compulsive people. “… He’s easily bored, always seeks excitement … and treats people like objects.” A parasite must have a back-up host waiting in the wings before completely finishing off the current host. Yes, it’s a veritable scum pond out there in the dating and relationship world.

All in all, it was a necessary opening of the skies above and the earth beneath me. I’ll close my eyes, release my fears and plunge into the abyss. With any luck, I can ferociously flap my dusty, weary wings and rise like the Phoenix. It must be done. Thus the blog.

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Filed under #HCV, awakening, compulsiveness, divorce, dysfunction, failed marriage, growth, HCV, hepatitis c, human nature, life, marriage, narcissism, psychology, relationships

Love Me, Love My Dysfunction … Not! When Bad People Happen To Good People.

(August 2, 2011) I’m finally ready to release the ties that bind me. It’s got to happen! Change forces itself upon me like a wrecking ball. I realize now that it smacks of insanity to continue living as I’ve lived the first half of my life. Oh, but what a force I must reckon with. Like that tightly wound ball of rubber bands people build to amuse themselves, the layers are deep and made up of many parts, colors and textures. Peeling away at them seems endless. An occasional *snap* of a resistant layer of the bouncy ball sends me yowling in retreat. I get knocked down. I get up again.

At 18 I was out of the nest, escaping the responsibility my family thrust upon me after the death of my first stepfather when I was 13. As the rational thinker of the brood, I had an uncanny knack for finding solutions to problems. However, my attempts at rationality were fruitless. I got chided and criticized instead. I watched my family get caught in the web of dysfunction that haunts them to this day. Back then, I bought into it a little. Why me? Why was life so cruel to me?

Though I lived in fear of someone pulling the rug out from beneath me while out on my own, deep down I knew I was responsible for creating my reality. (I attribute it to all that Nietzsche I read at the end of high school.) Granted, I wasn’t happy with the cards life dealt me. When I was a child I was at the mercy of the actions of others. I didn’t have that “solid” foundation that others grew up with. I acted out. I saw life as pointless. Always an uphill battle. Little did I realize then is that this sort of dysfunction is more commonplace than not. Some of us are better at building illusions than others. We’re all living lies to some degree.

In counseling a few years ago, where I was given the task of “fixing” myself to save my marriage, the therapist told me that a lot of my behavior was “learned”. There was insecurity, leading to jealousy. There was victimization, leading to a self-imposed loss of control. And then there was guilt — anger turned inward — for what, I don’t know. Was it because I failed the impossible expectations? Was it my inability to save everyone from their harsh realities? Was it because I wasn’t the perfect little child, whatever that was? Over the past decades I mulled these thoughts in my mind countless times but never wanted to take pause to look at the truths they revealed. It’s not like I want to blame the parents. You only glean so much mileage out of that one. It’s up to me and me alone to realize, deal, make right and move on. I had to quit playing the martyr, reject responsibility for situations not of my doing and stand on my own two feet. This means for some harsh words, thoughts and analyses — harsh only because the truth hurts.

I have to undo all the silly expectations I had in life. There will never appear a knight in shining armor who will swoop me up and save me from all of this. There’ll be no big hand from the sky that reaches down to pat me on the shoulders and say, “There there. You’ve been through a lot. None of it was of your doing. With one fail swoop, I’ll make all the bad disappear now.” And really, I can only gain so much playing the victim. As a life plan, it’s a dead-end. A line from Naomi Judd’s “Breakthroughs” book, she says, “You’re allowed to be the victim only once. After that you’re considered a volunteer! Making better choices can make you a victor.” (Thanks to my friend LP for sending it to me! Take a peek at Naomi’s book on Amazon!)

In fact, many of the old clichés pop into my head during my downtime. We’ve heard them over and over throughout life but the words have no meaning until we’re forced to ponder their depths. “To thine own self be true.” Yes, I must love myself. I can’t be a good friend or lover until I accept myself, warts and all. “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink it.” No, I’m not responsible for any family member who repeats a cycle of dysfunction over and over. Whether an addict or another “helpless” victim, they make their own beds and must lie in them, just as I do. I love them. I wish them well. I pray they find it within themselves to take responsibility for their own actions and decisions. I help in whatever small way I can. But frankly, I’ve got a lot on my plate these days. I get no help. I ask for none. I expect none. I gave up on being rescued decades ago.

But tell me, why must we wait until we’re 50 and made a shambles of our lives before we figure it out? Why must we be put down by a disease before we slow down and see the truth? Why must we have a big tragedy, loss of life, home, loved ones before we see life for what it is — a series of decisions made by us and mainly us? I should’ve taken heed to this wisdom 20 years ago. But things come when they’re meant to come. The first half of my life I found it easier to drown my sorrows than deal with my reality. I see now that how I respond or not respond to what’s before me is a true indicator of what drives me. Am I a quitter? A victim? No! I know a complete 180 in my thoughts and actions is what’s needed now. Why, though, do rational thinkers get written off as cold and callous? Simply because people like their illusions. They’re used to them. They don’t like it when you tell them (a line from a recent Sears commercial): “I hope you brought your umbrella, ’cause it’s raining cold, hard facts up in here.”

Medical Update: Mom is recovering at home after a week in the hospital from her laparotomy. Prognosis is good. After researching my condition of dropping HGBs (hemoglobins) and RBCs (red blood cells), I found that national protocol requires a blood transfusion if your HGB level drops to seven (7). My gastroenterologist may have a protocol for what becomes dire and needs some sort of intervention, like, say, a HGB level of nine (9). I won’t find this out until I see him on August 26. The doctor who is supposed to cover his patient load was going to make me drive two-and-a-half hours to see him for 10 minutes to tell me this. Oh, yes, and I will complain on the 26th when I see my regular doctor. In the meantime, I have a blood draw on Monday, August 8. I’ll do what I did last time and have the results released to me from the lab itself. I also found in my research that my elevated Mean Corpuscular Value (MCV) indicates a Vitamin B-12 deficiency (eHow’s MCV signs, symptoms, remedies page.). I now have liquid B-Complex and liquid B-12 to hopefully counteract that. Unfortunately we must be proactive in our own care because of our insufficient wealthcare system.

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