Sunday, January 22, 2006

Okay, time to fess up, I actually do get it. (yes, another long winded "Bub" post) I honestly know that I can't keep living like this forever. Did'ja think I really didn't see that? But denial is a fabulous thing, it allows for all sorts of niceties and excuses, and perpetuates a comfort zone that I still seem unwilling to give up. I know that Em and I deserve better, and I know that change is necessary to achieve this. But that's where my true problem comes into play. I just can't seem to take that leap. Right now, I know what I can expect, however miserable and pathetic it may be, at least I know, y'know? It's a comfort zone, and one that will undoubtedly continue for as long as I'm willing to let it.

I made one real effort to leave before, did you ever know that? I really planned for it, even told others of my intentions. Of course, never really exposing the full spectrum of what I now realize is narcissistic, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse on his part. Instead I only alluded to the outward, tangible problems like money and an unsatisfying relationship. I honestly fully expected that this would be it, that I would finally be free. I had "the talk" with him, completely turned our lives upsidedown, and he even came close to accepting it for a few hours. But I think that was only because he wasn't expecting it, and it threw him for a loop. Once he regained his faculties, he went straight back into Bubba mode, with a passion. He reeled me back in, he guilted and manipulated, and used Em as a pawn. My unwillingness to put her through such a horrendous custody battle as he most certainly would have launched, (and still will, if I ever try again) along his empty promises of acknowledgment and change, are what ultimately wore me down. Oh yes, things will be different,he promised, I'll do aaaaaaanything. Get a real job, go to counseling, be a better husband, father, man, blah blah blah. I'm sure he meant it. In his eyes, he's kept up his end of the bargain. It's not his fault that certain conditions were re-negotiated along the way, even if they were re-negotiated through even more guilt and manipulation. I.E. getting a real job (stability) and counseling, "you know how impractical getting a real job is for me, and besides, this time will be different, I know how to make my own business work", and "all they want to do in counseling is talk about my childhood and has absolutely nothing to do with our problems", again blah blah blah. But I succumbed, as always, 'cause that's what I do. Then, somewhere along the way, it occurred to him that it was not he who had the problem, twas I. I am the one with the innate inability to communicate like a normal human being, tis I who needs to change in order for this union to thrive. And until I do, he is done trying. See, he did what he said he would, now it's my turn, as I have not kept up my end of the bargain. Hmmmm, funny how I don't remember that ever being a stipulation when I first caved in and agreed to stay, but that's not how he would see it. So, because of this, he has told me in no uncertain terms, that he intends to point out each and every time my lacking communication skills fail me, because he's tired of being patient and trying to work through my problems. The ball has been in my court for some time now, I can either change who I am, or suffer the consequences, because I promised I would try to work on our relationship and not just give up again like I always do according to him. To him, I have not yet truly tried, so leaving simply isn't an option. But don't worry, he's always there, watchful and increasingly impatiently waiting for my miraculous transformation into the wife, mother, woman he expects me to be. And each time I fail, his reaction is more severe and incredulous than the last. It's the same damn thing over and over, he says. Why don't you get it? I know you have the ability to change your behavior (this is usually where he throws my weight loss in my face as proof that I can change if I really wanted to, which, of course shows that I just don't care enough to change for him). I know you're not ignorant so why can't you just stop and learn to think, say, and do differently? As if my personality were a computer to be programmed. I guess the problem is that I really don't care. Because I know I could change too, if I really wanted to. But I don't want to, I like me, and think I'm fine just the way I am. So yeah, I don't care because I don't love him and I don't care to try to make him happy anymore. The problem is, my unwillingness to give into what he demands and make the necessary changes he requires, along with my unwillingness to step out of my comfort zone and go down that unknown path, simply cannot co-exist with any semblance of harmony. Together, the two ends of the spectrum only work to perpetuate the viscous cycle. So I'm stuck, too scared to move forward, and unwilling to go back. Now what? Well, for now, more of the same. I know, not what you wanted to hear, but it is what it is. But... I have taken one small step that may eventually propel me into action. I used some of my own Christmas money, (yes, I still have it, you know how miserly I am!) to purchase a recording device. I feel like if I am ever to make a real case for myself showing why we desperately need to get away from him, then I need to have proof of what we are truly living with, because, like I've said, there just aren't any words or it. It may not seem moral or fair, but I honestly don't see any other way considering his profound ability to convince, twist, and manipulate. It's something at least, a glimmer of hope perhaps? I dunno, we'll see. But for now, we just keep on truckin'. Most days, getting out is all I can think about. Some days, the depression starts to suck me in, but so far, I have not completely let it. Those are the days that seem most hopeless, and I just try to resign myself to this miserable life. Some days, I feel a little stronger than others and think that maybe, just maybe, I can find a way. Those days, my mind constantly jumps from the need to plan a sly escape with all my ducks in a row, to just losing it and finally vomiting all of my pent up rage onto him, to calmly stating that's it, I'm through, and any further discussion must be held in the presence of an attorney (yeah, that one would go over reaaaaaal well!). But, for the most part, I just keep truckin' on. Still planning for our future with him and allowing him to implement plans that would require both of our involvement, because that's the only way I can keep up the show of our regular family dynamic and not raise his suspicions. Again, probably not moral or fair on my part, and should only prove to make matters even worse if I ever do find a way out, but it's what I feel I must do in order to keep him "happy" for now. I feel terribly guilty about this, but I try to resolve it in my mind as a necessary survival tactic. And that will just have to be good enough for now. So, that's it. Perhaps some positive forward motion? Not really, but better than my usual blind acceptance, don'tcha think? Ug, what a sucky ass post. :(


Anonymous Jilly said...

I knew, because I remember one of your very first posts at 3FC was asking for advice regarding leaving a spouse. I suppose that's one of the reasons I couldn't understand your reluctance to consider it now, seeing as you had before. I didn't pry because I figured you'd tell eventually.

There's no way he could get custody. As callous as it sounds, his eyesight alone would be an important consideration to the judge. Custody battles are extremely expensive ~ how much of a fight could he afford? He has to know that judges are overwhelmingly in favour of awarding custody to mothers. I'm sure you could easily provide character references from teachers, other mothers, family that would attest to where Emmy's best interest's lie. Given his employment/business history, he can't even provide evidence of financial ability to care for a child. Knowing that you're a caring, loving, capable mother who wouldn't deny him visitation, he'd be vilified for putting his child through the pain of a prolonged custody battle. All he's got is empty threats.

Does he not realize that he had to beg and plead for you to stay, thus the responsibility was squarely in his corner to improve his attitude, change his ways and make it worthwhile for you to stay? You made no such promises and should feel no guilt because you don't love him and don't wish to become a shell of a person to fit his distorted idea of the "wifely" mold.

Yes, I know all about the fear of the unknown. I've been there and was terrified for a few months until I realized that I could and would make a better life for myself and my daughter. Life is going to go on whether its in a false comfort zone or one where you feel on shaky ground for awhile. Both cases are stressful and worrisome, but the false comfort zone promises nothing but persistant misery, while following through with a change provides a sense of hope and promise which nicely counteracts the butterflies in the tummy.

Franky, I was amazed at how soon I was in a true comfort zone where I finally felt in control of my situation ~ yes, control, that has to appeal to you. ;) Eventually I became furious with myself for not ending the misery sooner, but its all hindsight, isn't it? Hell, getting away from him was liberating in itself, but the confidence and pride that came from achieving my independence was the ultimate liberation!

I know from your prospective you think its easy for me the say all this from where I am now ~ I truly do understand, but that doesn't mean I don't remember how scary the concept of leaving was. I do, and I wish I could give you a magic pill to look into the future to see what it holds for you ~ somehow I doubt it'll look the same as it does now (except you and Emmy are older). No, I think you'll be out there telling others not to be afraid!

Tis funny, when I saw the surprise return of Mthrgoos to 3FC and read about her packing up 4 kids, leaving her emotionless and uncaring hubby, and moving across the country, it made my heart sing. I was very well aware of how unhappy she had been and now she's reporting a very happy, satisfying and fulfilling life. Its like she came back now when you needed her the most, doncha think??

Remember, I'll try not to be pushy or preachy, and I'll always support you, but I'm done being an enabler! xox

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Mardieal said...

Hi Beverly

I've been reading your blog for a while (thanks for that) and been impressed by your preparedeness to acknowledge your own role in your current, seemingly trapped state. Knowing that stepping out of your comfort zone is a challenge is important because you are never going to be able to control your husband's reactions and actions - only your own. So you need to own (in actions as well as words) that you and him are codependent. You don't have to convince him of that - just know it for yourself.

Having worked in the area of domestic violence can I just remind you that no matter what you come up with as a reason for you both to separate it is never going to be a good enough explanation for him to 'get it' and he's just going to keep moving the goal posts. So, as you suggested to yourself in the last post - keep it simple, figure out how to leave, know that it's not going to be easy (though perhaps easier than you think). But play fair - although that doesn't mean you should compromise your safety and well being.

As for the fear of a custody battle impacting on your mean that would be worse than living with the burning resentments, mutual lack of respect and covert and overt conflicts between her parents that she is living with now?

It seems to me that everyone in your little family deserves better - yes, even your husband. I think in a situation like this each party thinks the other one holds all the power, and a lot of time is spent trying to gain it back.

So do like Nancy S*natra- put on your boots and walk. Literally or metaphorically. I did, and many years later still carry the awareness of the freedom I now have every day.

I'm writing to you from Australia and I write in the knowledge that I'm too far away for you to come over and kick me in the arse (as we say over here) if you don't like what I have written. Feel free to tell me to get stuffed and mind my own business but please know that my words come from concern at viewing from a distance the pain of someone who at some level is choosing entrapment over freedom. Which I know you know..

And again, thank you for your fantastic blog.

9:24 AM  
Blogger WifeMomChocoholic said...

Perhaps you should consult a lawyer on your own and see what steps you should be taking?

10:36 AM  
Blogger Dawnyal said...

Kudos to you Beverly for taking steps to the future. I think you getting a recording device is a huge step, whether or not you realize it.

I too went through a divorce once and what made me stay in that relationship so long was this: I saw divorce as failure on my part. Why couldn't I make it work? It seemed simple enough. But I had been made a fool of with all his cheating and decided to suck it up and file. I was okay with the status quo as long as I didn't consciously know about it. I'm sure on some subconscious level I knew what was happening, I just didn't want to believe it.

I did go through counseling for about a month. It was during that time I realized it wasn't just me who failed the marriage. Yeah the signs were there of it failing and I chose to ignore them but we both failed the marriage and now I'm in such a better place. It sucked having to move back in with my parents for a few months but I survived. :) We all know that when you are ready you'll take those steps and get you and Em out of there.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Elmay said...

Just a quick comment....

In 1999, I managed to get out of my worst relationship ever. I think my partner had some sort of narcisstic personality disorder, but I don't know for sure. All I know is that no matter what I said or did, we couldn't seem to end it and I was miserable. The night before I broke it off for good, I picked up "Emotional Blackmail" by Susan Forward and read it cover to cover. It described my relationship exactly. The next day, when I told my parnter it was over, I heard every type of blackmail that was described in the book. Since it was fresh in my mind, I knew exactly how to respond. This time, we broke up for good.

The entanglement of our household took more time to disengage, but eventually, I was able to completely break free of this person. (I then spent a lot of time in introspection to figure out why I kept getting involved with these types of people -- this last one was just the worst of the bunch).

Hope this helps you. I've no doubt that you will get through this and be a wiser mother and person as a result. But, I can imagine in the moment, it must be very difficult.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Sandi said...

I don't really think I have more to add. Everyone else has spoken so well. Just know that I ma here for you, day or night. Whatever you decide.


10:07 AM  
Anonymous Sandy said...

Just found you here and I am so glad you have this outlet for your thoughts and feelings. Your friends are truly supportive and that is so great.
I would like to add my support to the list. You are very precious to me and I want you to know that I am here for you.
Your weightloss has been remarkable and an inspiration to me to keep mine going.
You are an incredible author and believe it or not your blog is "the book" you mentioned. If you were to write it in the same style as your blog you would be almost there. Your style of writing is easy and sincere and I really think you have a handle on "you".
This is just to say hello and hope it is okay for me to read your blog.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Paulina said...

Hello. I'm new to your blog, found it through 3FC. I only had to read the last two posts to feel what you are going through. I've been there.

My EX husband was terribly abusive, verbally and mentally. I thought I was going crazy until I went to a counselor and realized it really wasn't all my fault. He would say the meanest things, then totally deny them, saying I was imagining things, I had a sick and weak mind. He would talk to me and then mid sentence only mouth the words then pick up speaking out loud again. He had me thinking I was loosing my hearing, not caring enough to pay attention to what he was saying. I was an idiot.

I bought a small journal that I kept close at hand and when ever he would snip off at me I'd whip it out, jot down his hurtful words, date it, close the journal, smile at him and read it off to our marriage counselor the next time we met. When he would deny saying something hurtful, or tell me that I was imagining things, I'd pull the journal out, open it to the right page, and there it would be! He soon learned that his words no longer hurt me, but made him look bad.

Years of putting up with him 'for the kids' finally came to an end when he found what he thought was his last girlfriend and he filed for Divorce. He couldn't take the blame so of course it was my fault. Unfortunatly he involved my teenage son in the ugliness. He equiped my son with a tape recorder and instructed him to follow me around the house and tape record everything I said with the recorder hidden. My phone calls, my conversations in the car while driving, baiting him with questions to ask, etc. When I found out I told my attorney who had a fit. He put an end to it right away.

The only reason I mention that is because it wasn't helpful to him to record me, it couldn't be used in the divorce. It might only cause you more problems, but it might make you feel like you're not imagining it either.

I hope you don't mind my jumping in. Make an appointment to see an attorney. At least you'll know what you'll need to do to get your ducks in a row so you can start living again.

Now I'm going to go back to reading more of your blog.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I can't add anything of substance to what I've read here...just know you are in my thoughts...

10:14 AM  

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