October 28, 2013

Introspection, Self Doubt, and the Art of Infidelity

How much catharsis does one have to go through before the spell is finally cast??  We're about to find out I suppose.

I think everyone has those days where they doubt their very existence, I assume it wouldn't be normal if we didn't.  What happens when the doubt permeates your daily routine?  There are tons of chipper, happy people wandering the Earth.  It's a safe bet that they can't be that happy constantly.  There have to be low moments to balance out all that sunshine.  Being one such person, when I'm down it throws people off.  I have friends who can't wrap their heads around why I wouldn't be up and chipper and off the cuff...I mean, she's always happy....right?

Yes.  As an overall idea, I am always happy.  There are moments however, that I am not the shining example of Pollyanna.  This doesn't mean I need a lecture or a "boosting up" chat.  Maybe I just need a low moment.  Life isn't all sunshine and light all the time.  Especially when you have someone who is a work in progress, such as I.  I have been working on myself for years with emphasis on the last five.  There is something to be said for a person who is removed from a caustic situation and moved into one that is much smoother and less chaotic.  There's a transition similar to that of victims who suffer with Stockholm Syndrome or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  It may not be quite so severe as those two, but there is still a process and rewiring of the brain.  It cannot happen overnight, hell it probably won't even happen within a year or two.

I had a friend once say that she preferred when her ex hit her, bruises heal and fade away.  Words stay with a person forever.  Often times it doesn't even have to be anything direct, it can be subtle little nips, jabs, or simple mindless comments.  I remember being told from childhood how lazy and silly I was, I assumed every one's parents spoke to them in such a way.  Later in life it became common to hear similar things come out of my husbands mouth.  Little snipes to let me know I would never be as smart or important as he.  The rare moments that he built me up or said he believed me to be intelligent were always overshadowed by something negative.  I got very comfortable in the role as the pretty, dumb girl who had a modicum of mechanical knowledge and penchant for editing English papers.

A couple of years ago I had a good, old friend rage at me and throw me out of his house and life.  He misunderstood something I said in a conversation and took it way too far.  I made reference to ex's behavior toward me as "abusive".  I wasn't specific enough in saying that it was verbal therefore he naturally assumed that I meant physical.  When I told him much later on the I'd never been hit, I was often the physical one, he blew up believing I'd lied to him.  He proceeded to tear me down even further than my ex ever had.  That parting of ways hurt more than I can describe... until recently.  There's a line from Pretty Woman, "if someone tells you something enough, you start to believe it".  It's true.  Think of how you describe yourself to others....how much of what you say is a copy of what you've heard parents, friends, enemy's, significant others say about you?  How much of it is really you?  How much of it do you truly believe about yourself?

Undoing a mindset is far harder than properly healing a bruise.  Suddenly anything negative that gets thrown your way, even from a friend, becomes criticism.  It becomes difficult to comprehend someone being truly kind or paying a compliment.  A person begins to doubt everything they ever thought was real.  Feelings, accomplishments, random moments...all of it.

You can't really go around to all your friends and say, "Hey, please be careful with what you say to me.  There's a chance that simple critique will be taken as severe criticism and I'll have flashbacks and get twitchy."

No you have to remind yourself constantly that not everyone is out to get you.  Your spouse isn't out to make you into a Stepford Wife and your friends really do believe you are special.

This is all a mental reconstruction for me.  It was bad enough going through divorce and afterlife believing that the marriage was just bad because two people were incompatible.  Something entirely different happens when one person finds out that the last 2/3 of that marriage was not just bad, it was a total lie.  It was a facade put on for both the outsiders and the naive one inside.  You start out believing that after a decade plus there is at least a camaraderie, a friendship, some common connection that will forever bind the couple no matter how awful the split.  Then something happens, truths come out that cause that binding to crumble.  The naive one wakes up one day and realizes that the world she had built up in her head was all a lucid, painful dream, very little of it being real.  That realization in itself is so painful that it becomes the icing on a layer cake of manipulation and deceit.

The inside jokes don't really exist.
The silly nights can't be remembered without suspicion.
Lies repeatedly denied become truths that have to be absorbed.
Insults during fights become real, not just 'in the moment' words.
Happy memories become questions.
Long standing questions get answered.

I know in my heart this isn't going to be a fast, easy process.  Someone likened it to a death and that's basically what it is.  The death of not just a regular marriage, but an ongoing endeavor to cause pain.  I've run the gamut on emotions and reactions:  anger, pity, denial, shock, sadness, and finally hurt.  Extreme, blinding, piercing, hurt.  If this was what he wanted, if this reaction is what he was trying to bring me to, well.....he got it.  Mission accomplished.  The pain is there, the joke of the relationship has come across.  I can honestly say, I would have preferred to be divorced at 26 than to have continued living a lie, only to have it all come apart at the seams years later.  The worst thing about it all is that I know the atonement I had to beg for will never be met in kind.  I know there will never be an apology to me, or the other women he strung along from Florida to North Carolina to several cities here in Louisiana.  He will always be the victim and we the causes of his heartache.  I feel for the woman who is within his grasp now, I hope she never knows the pain he put me and everyone else through because no one deserves that.

Life will go on, things will become beautiful.  I will figure out that who I was during that moment in life is not who I have to be.
This will be the last one.  The last time he gets a piece of my attention, my tears, or space in my world.  Yes, he may always be my child's father, but that's where it stops.  I hereby revoke all rights to my emotional state, my level of happiness, and my ability to see myself as anything but a child of God.


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