Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Untying the Knot

Dear Blog,

4 weeks ago, I left my husband after only one year of marriage. 

This decision was not made lightly and it was a decision I arrived at with the support of my family, my closest friends, and, of course, my therapist. :)

About a month ago, after coming home in a bad mood and after months of verbal abuse, my husband threw the equivalent of a 4lb weight at my head in anger. When he missed, he picked it up, threw it again, just missing my head. It smashed through a double paned window instead. He then proceeded to say “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you” and “I’m going to punch you in the f*ing face.” Nice guy, right?

This outburst came after months of verbal abuse that started on our honeymoon. Calling me stupid, incompetent, unable to be a good wife, unlikely to be a good mother, the b-word, the c-word, among other things. Words that would, I fear, make even the most self-assured person begin to question their self-worth, their competence and even their sanity. 

There was additional physical abuse including, having objects thrown in my direction, sometimes hitting me and leaving bruises. I've been thrown against walls, shoved out of and across rooms, have had doors kicked in when I locked them to try and get away. 

After this most recent outburst I realized that if our 130 lb. Rottweiler runs and hides on a daily basis when he starts yelling at me, what will our children do when their father starts smashing windows. 

The morning after this happened, I very calmly went to church. I wanted to get away for a few days, I don't know if I was ready at that precise point to leave for good. I called my brother in NYC asking if I could crash on his couch. He asked why and I told him. His words to me were "if you don't tell mom and dad...I will". 

So threw a lot of RANDOM stuff in a suitcase, grabbed my two cats, and hauled ass home to Michigan where I curled up in an emotionally paralyzed fetal position for the better part of the week. 

This story is to be continued, however, rest assured that I am fine – physically speaking. And I am safe.

Oh, Blog, how I’ve missed you. This past year has been misery. This past year I was prohibited from being myself. I was led to believe that who I am, is fundamentally flawed. That I am neither funny, nor self sufficient, nor talented nor beautiful. That I am uninteresting, socially awkward, boorish and emotionally stunted.

So many times I have wanted to confide in you. To chart my thoughts, as I once did, in your pages in order to make sense of my sadness or my perceived inability to make my husband happy and my marriage a success.

I know now that this is what narcissists and abusers do – systematically beat down your spirit until you have no choice but to believe their lies.

Do not feel as though it was you, dear Blog I could not confide in. My family, my closest friends had no idea that I was being called stupid on a nightly basis, was ducking objects as well as insults being hurled in my direction. Because I knew, if I owned my reality, if I gave voice to actions I knew in my soul were wrong, they would tell me what I could not tell myself. That I should leave. That it was wrong. That my marriage, such as it was, had to end.

When thoughts are given form either through the stroke of a keyboard, or pinot noir stained lips, they take on a breath of life all their own. They are given a weight and a voice that you henceforth unable to keep at bay no matter how many “positive attitude” mantras you recite, prayers you pray or self-help marriage gurus you quote.

And so now, after three years of the walls of explanations, rationalizations and excuses keeping my thoughts at bay, I now type these words with the loudest and weightiest of keyboard strokes – giving life and conviction to the following thoughts:

My husband, who I loved and hoped to build and spend a life with, verbally, emotionally and physically abused me. It was…it IS Not my Fault. I am a brave person for leaving. This was the right decision. I am proud of myself for making it. 

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dear Blog, Remember Me?

Dear Blog,

I’ve been away. Probably because I see the darkness of my last post as a hole I need to crawl out from – but I figure I’ll just post and most on and I will eventually be burry it in the archives.

Quick update.

I got married. Three months ago.

So far marriage hasn’t been all champagne, roses and unprotected sex. But it hasn’t been all terrible either. I guess that’s what happens when you tend to have a black and white view of the world. You end up in a purgatory of grey fog. It’s a danger swinging high and low. Keeping up the momentum alone leaves one emotionally parched and hard…like a brittle sponge.

I moved to the suburbs. With a house. A husband. And a dog. Idyllic. Lovely. Check that box.

I love them. But I miss the city. Getting lost in it. The anonymity.

My best friend moved away. I’m lonely.

It’s easy to blame my husband or my marriage for my loneliness. He moved me away. If I could be in Dupont right now, walk out my door, feel the city swirling around me, perhaps I wouldn’t feel so stuck. Maybe I’d see more prospects for my future than having babies , mopping the kitchen floor or whatever other monotonous domestic cliché comes to mind. Even though I WANT kids and an nice home, etc.

And, as ever, I’m being dramatic because if I Were single, I’d be bemoaning my last date, the hopelessness of romantic prospects, and the inevitability of growing old alone.

There’s no pleasing me it seems.  

There never is.

And so I turn back to you, old friend. Dear, Blog. With your blank pages yet to be written ready to catch whatever nonsense my fingers punch out into the ether. Please have patience with me if my words lack eloquence. If I don't check back as often as I should. Relationships of any kind take work and time and I can't make any promises as to my level of committment or enthusiasm. Writing is hard. Writing the truth is even harder.  

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Shame Spiral: Please Don't Judge

How do you know when a relationship isn't working?

Apparently it isn't when your boyfriend packs everything you have at his place into a suitcase and two laundry baskets and throws it out of his house into the rain.

I guess its not when you've cried so hard the night before Valentine's day that you burst multiple blood vessels in your eyes.

But when you, granted, in a fit of blacked out drunkenness, get into an argument about God knows what stupid bullshit, and it leads to you swallow 15 little white pills of Ambien....with the sick, twisted theory that maybe if you try to kill yourself he'll be nice to you for a little get clued in.

And once you regain consciousness roughly 36 hours later and you realize what your little stunt put your friends and said boyfriend through (not to mention being incredibly lucky you did not, in fact, die) - the shame sets in. The utter shame, self loathing, personal disappointment that you, a beautiful, successful, 31 year old woman could do something so pathetic and so fucking stupid - is almost more that you can take. Let alone the fact that the man who was taking you ring shopping the week before is seriously reconsidering some major factors in his potential choice of future wife. Namely: sanity and stability.

And you are reconsidering...everything.

Neck deep in the shame spiral, trying not to mentally ass-rape myself, knowing that because I made a bad choice, doesn't mean I am a bad person, doesn't mean (necessarily) that i've undone everything healthy I gained in therapy (although Dr. B did get a call and I have an appointment on Friday), it doesn't mean I'm a mentally ill nutcase incapable of having a long term, meaningful relationship. Does it?

And the scary thing is that I know that none of these are the questions I should be asking. That I SHOULD be asking "why did I do it in the first place"? And the answer is...because...the thought of living without him is....not an appealing one.

That sentence is filled with all sorts of wrong. I know this. The only thing is that the idea of living in a war zone doesn't exactly leave me with warm and fuzzy, furry bunny feelings either.

The truth is that I want to stay. I want us to work. I want to be a sane, calm, normal girl that he can love. Not this crazy, codependent, clingy, pathetic shell of a woman I used to be. Frankly, I'd like to see that girl in the mirror again. I don't know when she disappeared. What's even scarier is that I don't know what to do to get her back.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Conversations with My Father (Part Deux)

I think sometimes I over think things when it comes to my life - the romantic aspects of it. Clearly, finding yourself rolling head first down a hill in the rain with your best friend, doesn't exactly paint a picture of the "well examined life". Then again, judging on your viewpoint, perhaps it does. But I digress.

I blame it on my parents. They have given me such high standards both in the example they themselves set and the way they raised me to never to settle, to strive for excellence and whatever you do....don't marry the wrong person. As such, I put such weight into these issues that many times i find myself staggering beneath it. It’s a hard realization to know that there's no book I can read, no test I can take, no instruction manual to follow step by step in order to arrive at a good and happy life.  

My heart has been hurt so much over the years that I have learned to instinctively distrust it, working hard training my brain the dominant & more trustworthy of the two organs. But, in the end, I don't believe there's any perfect answer. No silver bullet. No cheat sheet. I'll just have to take the best information I have and use it to make the best decisions possible. And when I still feel that information lacking, I ask my father for his advice.

My latest query was to ask if it "bothers him that he and my mother don't share a lot of the same interests" (stoic history PhD marries bubbly elementary school teacher) and whether or not he's found that an obstacle to be overcome in their marriage. 

Ever the thoughtful professor, he penned a reply which I have included below. Frankly, I believe the sentiments are universal and everyone loves a bit of fatherly wisdom. 

Thank you, dad.

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Hi Sweets.  I've been a bit bothered by your question the other day, inasmuch as I do not think I answered it very well.  So I will try, briefly, to expand a little.
We like to think that we should have long-range plans for our lives, and while we are encouraged to do so and need to do so, the reality is mostly aspirational.  The reason for this is simple: we change as we grow older.  And as we change, our likes and dislikes change, goals change, financial circumstances change and so those plans must change as well. 
The future is a mystery with respect to many things, but especially with this abstraction called 'happiness'.  Most people in this world have never experienced it, I am convinced, and have made their lives commensurately miserable in the pursuit of it.  For 'it' itself is myriad in its forms and seems as fleeting as gossamer.  Yet it doesn't so much 'flee' as 'evolve' as we grow older.  The happiness of youthful passion inexorably gives way to the warmth of familiarity and sentimental attachment.  The happiness of watching a child grow, will give way in time to the stark reality of anxious nights, emotional conflict and a life-long uncertainly over the fate of that child.  The initial paternal giddiness gives way to celebration, dread, satisfaction and second-guessing, as life gives and takes its rewards and its tolls. But that's the whole point of living isn't it? 
You asked me whether I wished Mom knew more history, and the answer is: of course I do.  But I knew that history was not her strong suit when I married her.  Instead, I looked to her character, her maternal instinct, her loving nature, her eternal innocence about many things.  Where is the guarantee that a history degree would have come with all those?  Does that mean that, perhaps, I am not as happy as I could be?  Probably.  But then who is, outside the silly movies which have distorted our perspective on such things?  The familial detritus which litters the twenty-first century social landscape provides ample evidence that most people never find their ideal.  And while that may rule out attainment of the will-o-the-wisp we call 'happiness', it hardly makes impossible the more achievable, stable and nurturing objective: contentment.  And if, in the end, I can say that I am content with the way I've lived my life; that will be compensation enough. 
I hope this helps.  Didn't mean to go on.  And I certainly don't mean to tell you what to do, or what decisions you should make.  I said my piece enough as I was raising you.  It's up to you now.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's Like I'm Losing My Mind

I'm driving myself crazy.

I want to be skinny. Pass me that cookie. I love him. I love him not. I want to be married. I want to be single. I'm going to be alone forever. Leave me the fuck alone.

But  isn't that what people do? Make choices, choose this instead of that? A downtown studio for suburban single family? Trading autonomous whirlwinds of one's twenties for security in one's thirties? Metro cards for car keys? Friday night cocktail flirtations for Sunday morning coffee?

The bottom line, Eli is great. He CAN be great. But our entire relationship, I feel like he's dragging me along while I play catch up learning how to communicate, how to incorporate someone into my life, how to strike a balance, how to not hate existence when I'm out in suburban Maryland and wanting so desperately to disolve into the anonymous, bustling sidewalks of Dupont. How do I not feel like something is missing?

And then ten minutes after I wrote this, he called and I couldn't wait to be back by his side.Thus resetting the spin cycle of my indecision.

So THIS is how it feels to be losing your mind.

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