Just Wondering

This morning for some reason, when I was making my coffee, I wondered if my ex ever thinks about the times he would rage, and break dishes, and throw food all over the floor, and walk away from it, leaving me crying, scared and having to clean up. I wonder if he remembers ever, when he broke our whole set of 12 Norman Rockwell plates, which we’d purchased at $40 each from Franklin Mint. I wonder if he thinks about what he put me through ever. Or if he just pretends it never happened. I wonder if he ever regrets making us drive hours to and from my son’s hockey games, the whole time verbally assaulting my son.

I’d like to think he does, and regrets all the things he did to me and my son. But, I don’t think so. Most people would feel so bad, once they realized how out of control they had become, and how much they’d hurt people that loved them, that they’d have to make at least an effort to apologize. He’s never apologized to me, except once. He had started a fight with me the day before I was scheduled to have labor induced for my son. Big fight, almost physical, yelling, stomping. I went to my sister-in-laws house for the night and she came with me to the hospital, not him. He finally showed up at the hospital after I’d been in labor all day because his sister shamed him into it. After my son was born by c-section in the middle of the night, he apologized. It was the only time in our 40 years together.

Even S repeatedly apologized for what he did to me. Of course, it didn’t change him, so the apology was only sincere in the moment. But at least there was a moment when he could see what he’d done. And of course, then he went on to spew lies about me to his girlfriend,and tell her intimate things about us, which was very painful for me. Having to listen to the lies come out of her mouth and having him back them up was heartbreaking. But he knew it was wrong. He knew he was doing it to make her secure.

I have forgiven them both for all of it. Their own behavior is something they have to live with. My heart, my psyche has healed from it all. It was all a good lesson for me. One drawback to growing up in a loving family is that you are unaware that there are people out there who would do those things. The reason they do them is because of a flaw they perceive in themselves, not in you. But a loving family of origin also gives you a base of love to fall back on, a way to find your own worth again, and allows you to move forward. I was blessed beyond words to have that.

It’s coincidental, (if you believe in coincidences) that when I came out on the deck this morning in the still dark, and opened my email, the first one I clicked on, by mistake (I actually wanted to open the email above this one), was an email from the Daily Om. It was a lesson from the book A Course In Miracles about forgiveness, and how it is really our only function.

I’m an Aries, and one of my traits is I cannot hold a grudge. For me to be angry for a week over something is really stretching it. Luckily, I am also aggressive and persistent, and know what’s good for me and what’s not. Although with both the men I’ve loved, I accepted the bad behavior for far too long, and kept them in my life far too long. Even if it was just on the periphery. I can still say I love them both, which is important for me, not to hate those I loved intensely. I feel sorry for my ex, because even if he doesn’t face it consciously, he lives a life that demonstrates the effects his behavior had on him, being broke and all alone, and having no relationship with his son. S—I don’t know what effect his behavior has had on him because we don’t talk.  He’s disappeared. But I feel for him anyway, because the games he plays over and over keep away the people who love him.

It’s been a weird morning, thinking about this stuff. Funny what bubbles up. Maybe it’s because I had a date last night with a man who doesn’t seem to be a game player, or manipulative, or controlling. But I can’t say for sure yet, I’ll have to get to know him better to know that. But I think maybe it’s the contrast between him and my old loves that brought this stuff around this morning.

Anyway, it promises to be an extraordinary day today. It was 63 when I came out on the deck before the sunrise. It’s going to get up in the 80’s. People are saying it’s unusual to be so warm in December. I’m more than happy about it. I might be able to wear shorts to the artwalk tonight.

Love and light, everyone.

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Tumbling

  1. Crashing waves.gif

I rode the wave
Into the shore,
Thinking it might be fun
To let it have it’s way with me.
I tumbled as it broke
With a violent effort
It tried to break me.

Over and over
I tumbled
Tangled in the chaotic froth,
Lifted to the surface,
Driven down again
To scrape the bottom.

Just as I thought it would own me,
The wave receded
It left me on the shore,
Breathless and dizzy
Naked and scared
Sand-scuffed and bruised.

Laying face down
Hair matted with grit
I breathed and
I rose.
I stepped back from the edge
And watched.

The wave kept coming back
Washing up on shore
Trying to convince me
It had changed it’s ways
That the ride would now be gentle
And pleasant,
As it tried to grab my ankles
To pull me under its spell again
And toy with my life.

But the power was mine now.
I could dance on the edge
Or run from the madness
Of the breaking wave.

There will be other victims
Who think it might be fun
To roll with the wave.
Until they get sick of being left
Face down in the dirt.

The wave will retreat.
It may regroup
Come charging back into the shore
In a mad show of power.
I’ll be gone.
I’ll be gone.

By Deborah E. Dayen

More Manipulation from My Son’s Father

manipulation

My ex’s cousin called me last night as I was leaving work.  I haven’t talked to her as much lately, because she’s been spending a lot of time in Boston to be near her kids.

She told me that my ex-husband called her sister in Florida on Easter, and wanted to know how he could get closer to my son. Also, called his sister, asking the same thing.

This is interesting, because neither of these women EVER talks to my son. The cousin has never met my son. My ex’s sister, who lives 35 miles away, has not talked to my son in 10 years. Just a lack of interest. So why he would think either of these people could offer any useful advise I don’t know. But then, I know my ex. He is doing it to build sympathy for himself, with the few people who will talk to him. It is not a case of wanting to know, really. Because he knows. I told him.

I told him that my son said his father should write him a letter. I explained to him, clearly, that he has to remember and acknowledge that he was brutal to my son. He was extremely emotionally abusive, and became physically abusive as well, though it was kept secret from me until my son came to live with me. But it was one reason my son walked from his father and never went back.

I told my ex that his son needs to see him go out on a limb for him. To write him a letter, that he can read over and over, that he can hold on to. Address the issues. Become vulnerable, to take a chance. I told him it may not work, but it may. If he doesn’t try, there is no chance. If he tries there is some chance that they will reconcile. My ex wants to find some for sure way that my son will respond positively to him. He doesn’t understand that it will take a long time for my son, even if he writes the letter.

I don’t know why he refuses to write to my son. Well, that’s not true. Because when words are written, they are recorded. They make him accountable. Another reason is because I’m the one who told him that’s what to do, a message I was relaying from my son. As with most people who are abusive, he doesn’t trust the people who he most should. He trusts his alcoholic cousin or his very aloof sister, more than me, who would love nothing more than for the two of them to reconcile, at least to a level where they would talk.

If the situation were reversed, I would have written a letter every day. I would have filled the mailbox til the post office asked me to stop. I would have taken that doorway, and run through it toward my son.

But my ex, instead, is simply trying to manipulate the emotions of anyone he can into feeling sorry for him. “Oh the poor man, he’s all alone. His ex-wife must be influencing his son not to talk to him.” Because he still thinks we are competing for my son’s affection. Even though he himself used to complain that I was absolutely non-competitive (he was a nationally ranked swimmer at one time, and was raised on competition, not only in sports but among his two siblings, who competed for their parents love.) I know my son loves me, and I would love if my son could love his father, and have a real father in his life. But with my ex, it’s all about manipulation. It’s not about the real business of healing and rebuilding his relationship with my son.

I have told my son that I’d really be happy if we were all at least speaking to each other before we all moved. He has promised me that he is going to tell his father that he’s moving before he goes. That’s something. That’s my son, once again, going out on a limb for his father, and speaks to the fact that my son still loves his father, even though he can’t bring himself to talk to him right now. That the abuse, and the chaos his father brings to his life is still hurtful, is still there. My son lived for his father as a child. He did everything and far more than his father ever asked him to, but he could never please him. He could never meet a constantly moving bar that had to be met for his father to love him. His father has done nothing to alleviate that pain.

I couldn’t meet the bar either. At some point, I realized that that moving bar was just a tool of manipulation, to feed his ego. My son knows it too. My son has found his way. I believe that the last 8 years of living with unconditional love, and none of the chaos, have allowed him to find himself.

I have been wondering, since last night, if I should call my ex and talk to him again about writing his son. But….no. His ego would be boosted to know people have talked to me concerned for him. And would do nothing to resolve their relationship, because as long as his ego is being fed, there will be no movement toward reconciliation. As long as he is the center of attention of his cousins, his sister, and me, he will have enough ego boost, that just complaining that he is so sad that my son won’t talk to him is all he will do. He won’t make a move toward him.

I know the man well, after 40 years.

I used to think when my son was small, that a 2 parent family is infinitely better than a single parent. And of course, that’s true if both parents are normal loving people. But if one is dysfunctional, and abusive, and so damaged, it is far better for a child to have one parent that can love him unconditionally than stay in the middle of the chaos a sociopathic, narcissistic, abusive alcoholic can cause.

I hope my ex can see the light some day. But my hope for him is slight. He has lost everything, his marriage, his son, his house, his business, his yacht, and lives in a 500 sq foot rented cottage with no heat now. You’d think at some point he’d rethink the way he lives his life, and maybe do a little soul searching. If it hasn’t happened with all that loss…I can’t imagine what, if anything, could change him.

I’m so grateful that I got out when I did. And got my son out. Just so grateful.

Love and light.