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Friday, September 14, 2012

What would it look like?

If I accepted myself as the unique human being that I am? I suspect that would mean that I would accept you and the world the way you and the world are too. How much more happy I would be then!

"I can now admit that most of my troubles stem from one large and glaring defect: self-centeredness. For how can I wallow in self-pity, weep over resentments, be sick with righteous anger, ache with envy, and tense up with fears and anxieties unless all my thoughts are exclusively on poor me?" (Drop the Rock, 23).

Several years ago a sponsor had me go through the fourth step in the 12 & 12 in order to extract the plethora of character defects that one could have. However, in the Big Book it specifically points to just four defects -- resentment, dishonesty, self-seeking, selfishness and fear. What I am coming to believe is that all other defects stem from these four issues untreated. They are all permutations of the same basic problems. Keeping it simple works much better for me than does having ninety different character defects to think about. At the deepest core, however is this self-centeredness, which I think also comes from the even more central issue of fear.

Fear stems from the belief that I am God (extreme self-centeredness). Fear produces perfectionism, which is the idea that "I know best." It says that I know better than God. How else could I find so many things to be wrong in the world, with me and with others? The definition in the dictionary of perfection includes the word flawless. Looking even more closely at this definition I realize that the definition of perfection can actually be equated with my definition of God.
I know John will come here tomorrow to pick up his stuff and he will find evidence of all the reasons he left. Fruit flies abundant, clutter in every corner (especially because my mom is visiting), a diaper bin of diapers and general chaos. Perhaps he will bring his mistress and she will see the evidence too or maybe she will look at the pictures of our family on the walls and wonder for a moment if she really does know anything at all about the family she participated in destroying. I really just hope she doesn't come inside my home. Yuck. As I was driving home from Bondville tonight, I was thinking about how the word "cheater" is an excellent choice for what happens when one person turns to another person for respite from their marriage (or other myriad of issues). My anger stems strongly from the realization that John has "cheated" the whole process. Not only is he unable to work through the challenges of marriage and parenting, pulling the "get out of jail free" card, but he is also "cheating" by deferring or entirely avoiding the grief that comes from change (of any kind) and the loss of our family and seeing his kids on a daily basis. He is cheating right now by spending time with and sleeping with another woman. I don't get to "cheat," I get to go through the motions, suiting up and showing up for this life, which is mine.

I ran into my "son" this evening, Sam, and was reminded that self-pity and resentment are the same thing. I had already heard that self-pity was "reverse" pride and I can see how that is absolutely true. So this reminds me that "resentment" comes from me playing God, me thinking that I know how things should be, me playing director and wanting to set up the whole scene and tell everyone how to play their parts. My unmet expectations. My unmet demands. And me "playing God" is basically the same thing as pride. When I am feeling prideful, as I am when I am wondering why John picked Sidney over me,  I feel ashamed, and broken and worthless. That's a way of playing God too. I think I know how I'm supposed to be and that I have the "right" to judge myself and everyone else (because of course in this scenario John and Sidney are bad guys or good guys, there's no in between). Pride is playing God.

Pride from

1)a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
2.the state or feeling of being proud.
3.a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one's position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.
4.pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself: civic pride.
5.something that causes a person or persons to be proud: His art collection was the pride of the family.
So when I look around and see my life I take pride in it, which is to say I claim that I made everything the way that it is, good or bad. I effectively eliminate God from the equation. Resentment and self pity emanate from pride. When things don't go the way that I want them to then I either experience resentment or self-pity. Neither of which is a "right-sized" response to life. One is anger at the world for things not being the way I want them to be and the other is being angry at myself for the same conditions. In reality, life is what it is. I am who I am. I am perfectly imperfect as I am and God loves me just the way I am. 

Realizing this is not going to take away all the pain but I think it can help me face it more easily. And honestly, the worst pain is coming from thoughts about the two of the together, ruminating on his betrayal (all the phone calls, the romancing before we were even "separated,"etc, etc, etc.), actively doing things like researching Sidney, going by her house, imagining ways to get back at them, at her, thinking back through our marriage and trying to pinpoint how I could have done better and whether we were ever really in love or fantasizing that their relationship is going to fail and John is going to see the error of his ways and turn into prince charming. I almost drove by her house tonight just so I could feel bad seeing my/his car parked outside. I just thought about how I want to drive by his new place next week to see if he is actually staying at his house or hers. When I think about why he sent me the text the other day saying that he is thinking about how he should be "alone" to process everything, I begin to feel some sense of relief from the pain. But it's all just a fantasy. I cannot wait to be at peace for him to "fix" things or come back to me or break up with her. I can be at peace now. I no longer have to be co-dependent. I do need to turn my dependence toward God. God is the only one that can fill that gaping hole in my chest that I keep trying to stuff fill with John (good memories) or salt (with thoughts of the betrayal and loss). 

The truth is what Sam said tonight. Everything is already alright. And as I said, everything is exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment (BB). If I am upset it is because I think some person, place or thing should be different than it is. As soon as accept that person, place or thing as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment, I can have peace and serenity. That's how I feel at this moment and I am soaking it in because I know it, too, shall pass. I keep waffling between being okay, almost hopeful, being manic, angry and very sad. Tonight I felt so much pain I just thought I should die but then I screamed and cried in the car and went to the meeting. Then I talked to Sam and life began to feel okay, at least for now. I'm going to keep grasping on to all the little moments that get me through each day but I am going to pray that God helps me get through this with grace, dignity and integrity. God please help me to LET GO. John is not my job. Pull me close to you. Guide me as you would have me. Your will, not mine be done because I most certainly do not know what is best for me (aka my heart is an idiot).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Oh my, I have nothing really inspired to say. I usually post when I feel like I have something to say. This time I am at a loss for words. Since I last wrote, I birthed a beautiful little boy named Finnegan. Now I have two amazing children. But that's not the story I want to tell here. What I want to talk about is how I lost my husband. Damaged by the symptoms of stress as a result of our living conditions, our financial security, the birth of our two kids and our personality differences John fell for a 24 year old poet named Sidney. They met in the life that I was not able to participate in because John and I had come to sharing nights out. He would go out one night and I'd go out another. Someone had to stay home with the kids and we had little money to pay a babysitter. Besides I got a little plump and extra stressed/anxious/crazy post-partum and asked John not to sleep in the bed with me and little Finny because I didn't want him to roll over on him while inebriated. I also didn't want him to hold Finn after he'd been smoking. This all seems reasonable to me. I guess too many nights on the couch and too many fights later equaled license to get involved with another person. When he announced that we should divorce on August 16th, I at first thought it made a lot of sense. We've had the conversation before. We fight too much. We're too different. Maybe we shouldn't be together. However, it had never been initiated by John before. It was a painful dagger in the chest even if initially I conceded that, yes, that might make sense. I was feeling especially ashamed of myself because of a huge fight we had in Penticton the day of my Uncle James' memorial service. I yelled at Eve and said something about not being able to do "this" any longer to John. This mixed with having met a woman on August 4th, out somewhere, gave him the license to go on a date with her once he got home four days earlier than the rest of us from British Columbia. Apparently he had determined that I no longer wanted him and that he had been gone long enough anyway (in his mind or emotionally) that it wasn't really an affair. He did not, however, share with me the fact that he was seeing this woman. I had to find that out on my own a week later when glancing over his facebook page (the only way to have contact with him once he disappeared from our lives on August 17th). I did ask him to stay with a friend for awhile. Little did I know that he would choose a girl's house and lie to me about it. So every night he was leaving me in the wreckage of our marriage and home, he was going "home" to the arms of a new woman who thinks I'm crazy for making John's life miserable. I know because I emailed her and ask her if she could back off and let us end our marriage gracefully rather than in this ugly way (aka with an affair as a reason that we are parting ways rather than amicably due to the fact that we don't get along). Furthermore, the fact that John is leaving me for another woman is far more painful than the idea that he finally agrees with me that there are many challenges in our relationship that need to be dealt with (at the very least acknowledged). Before I knew about the girl, I felt like I was living in an alternate reality. Like I was watching the death of my life from a distance.

The most astounding thing is that I am having a tremendously hard time with this break up. I suppose it is because I have never been left before by anyone and certainly not in this repulsive way. But I think I had such a beautiful dream of what our life could have been. Now it's been destroyed. Worse. It's been shattered into millions of pieces and then defecated on. It feels like it could NEVER be resurrected. Today I got the phone bill which showed me that John spoke with Sidney every day that he was "away" from all of us claiming that he had a lot of work to do. Who knew that he was talking with her and possibly even seeing her during the whole week.

I keep hoping that he is going to "regret" this decision. I some how want to be right. I don't want to believe that it is possible that this person is the "one." I mean it's every girls' dream that she will be able to transform the guy she meets into the man of her dreams, isn't it? If he tends to be distracted, bad with money, disorganized and doesn't take care of himself, SHE will be the one to get him on track. The thing she doesn't account for is the likelihood that after she gets him "on track," he won't like her very much anymore because suddenly she seems an awful lot like his mother (or some other authority figure).

But how can a 33 year old woman, with two small children, a little extra weight around her waist and six and half years invested in what was supposed to be a life long relationship not be angry when her husband runs off with another woman and has the gal to think that he is going to get away without anyone knowing about it?? In fact, I have since run into the friend that he claimed he was staying with and I have actually run into the two of them on the street. That was a real shocker. I sat stunned wanting to vomit. I mean who can't eat chocolate cake?? I guess me when I'm looking at my husband standing on the corner lighting another woman's cigarette (with cigarettes I bought him because he claimed he was having an anxiety attack and needed some help), looking for all the world to see, like a newly wed. It takes quite a married 36 year old to get away with dating a 24 year old, but he is in a band and there's no denying that that is sexy. I thought so for the first four years of our life together until I'd had enough of not receiving any love from that sexy musician and then my desire began to wane.

Did I mention that he's been "back" twice and told me that he loves me and he's sorry? Did I mention that he has tried to have sex with me, indicating clearly that he is sexually attracted to me. Both times I informed him that there is no use hurting two women, although I don't doubt that in the future he will hurt Sidney too. That is his track record. Man do we ever have our own history of him being dishonest about his relationships with his exes. I will never forget how uncomfortable it was standing in a bar with his ex-girlfriends milling around him and him not introducing me to them.

So, yes, I am hurt and I am scared and I am angry. I have written horrible texts to John and used my words to let him know that I find all of this to be unacceptable. I have also asked him to keep Sidney away from my children. I have also written her. One letter that was very kind before I knew that it was going to be received by a 24 year old artist who thinks she knows everything about the world. Indeed, she told me that I was manipulative and cruel for claiming that John is losing his family by initiating a divorce. I have a desire at this very moment to write a text to her asking her how she can claim not to have ANYTHING to do with the break up of my marriage when she spoke with him for 90 minutes on the day that he asked me for the divorce. NINETY minutes. He, of course, told me that he was going to talk with Eriq as he ran out the door to answer the phone. I can't begin to say how sad that makes me. I don't think he EVER spoke to me for NINETY minutes on the phone. I wrote a horrible letter to her that I never sent because I don't want to hurt her too. I don't need to stoop low and hurt her the way that she and he have hurt me.

I also thought today about how this is karma. I left my first boyfriend Edward after a period of withdrawing from him (I didn't even know that was what I was doing). However, I had also met someone else that had captured my heart. I had only had one or two conversations with him before I told Edward that our relationship needed to end. It helped me to remember this because 1) I had no idea how much I hurt Edward 2) I remember how Rahula functioned as my anesthetic (probably why I became dysfunctional in the semester after the break up and had to quit Hampshire -- more will be revealed!) 3) I only knew once I met someone else that our relationship was over. It hurts to write that but I suspect that it is true. John was gone long before. Of course, it also helps to remember 4) that I have often wondered why I broke up with him over the years and wished I had not.

It is a very different story, however, when there are children involved. John and I tied together forever now. It absolutely and utterly sucks. This would be a great deal easier if I could just walk away. Lick my wounds. Acknowledge that this is probably a "God thing." I don't know how else I could keep going. God is doing for me what I could not do for myself. For a long time, I was learning how to function in my marriage as if I didn't need John because he was so undependable. I was working toward creating a life where I could support the kids no matter what happened. The funny thing is that this year I was the happiest that I had been in many years. I was learning it. I was getting it. This does not mean that John and I weren't still fighting, we were. Even when it came to the birth of Finn, I did not know if I could depend on him to be there.

Funny thing is, he was my rock, even if he really provided me with no security. He was my partner. The guy that was--in my head--always there even if in reality he wasn't. He was the one who knew everything about me and still wanted to be around. It has become pretty clear, however, that he does not value many of the things that I value in life, including the value of working through hard things. Learning from life. Life as a spiritual classroom. He'd rather be drinking and smoking and having a good time and I'd rather be growing. I like to have a good time too, but I recognize that for me to be happy in the world, I have to continuously work on my spiritual condition.

So now, off to work on my work for my nursing classes. I have no choice now. I have to move forward no matter what kind of weight is holding my legs down and pressing deeply on my chest. I can't give up now. The kids need me. The kids need me. I need me. This is for the best no matter how much my mind wants to tell me otherwise. I don't want to be married to someone who doesn't value me. And honestly, he shouldn't have to be with someone who doesn't value him either.