Power

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I ask B to share with me the emotions he has  felt on this “maybe” divorce journey as part of the 365 Days Little Buddha Challenge. My intention is just to listen in hopes of greater understanding and clarity.

He says that he feels under appreciated, under valued, and like he has been in a rowboat rowing all by himself.

I ask what would it take to make feel him feel that he was valued and appreciated.

“For you to focus on the family instead of yourself. I work and have taken on a lot in the last 5 years.”

What would that look like I ask?

“I don’t know.” It always comes down to I don’t know. Or I want to have the last word in our relationship. My word is the final word. And I know that at 56 I do not want to become a caricature of who I want to be and who I am.

And as I ponder his answers I realize that everything he has said I feel the same way about. Exactly. Undervalued. Unappreciated. Unloved. And when you have two people who are intrenched in those kinds of feelings it seems like there is no chance of moving on.

I wonder how exactly he feels I focus on myself. My writing? My genealogy work? He has work, the gym where he works out with Gwinnifer, Rotary, Boys Scouts, his various  industry organizations and playing the bagpipes.  Yet, he does focus on the things he likes to do with our family. Boy Scouts. While I focused on getting the kids to their therapist once a week for years, hippo therapy, diving lessons and meets. I write and research…that is all I do for myself except clean house at least two hours everyday, make dinner, lunches, do laundry, grocery shop, taxi the kids around, work in the garden, paint all the rooms in our house, etc.

I think having two children with special needs has impacted our relationship in ways that most families never experience and it has increased the stress in our relationship. In addition, it has made it difficult to socialize with others who do not understand how we must live. So we have isolated ourselves as a couple and I have isolated myself as a person.

And as he says these things resentment screeching out of his words like nine-inch nails on a blackboard; I realize once again there is no way to get over this. Even if I bowed down and “obeyed” like he says he wants in a woman, it would never be enough because he will never see anything but what he wants to see/ how he wants to feel…resentment (which he denies), cheated, and all the un-everythings so that he can justify his feelings about wanting a new life, a new wife, and find a way to feel comfortable in his mid-life crisis which actually started 7 years ago when he bought a two-seater Mercedes convertible for a family of six.

And so I inch that much closer to the demise of a relationship in which one person never expressed his needs or told the truth and one who expressed all of it. Constantly. Who asked the deep questions that B couldn’t answer in an attempt to learn about his wants but never could because the information was top-secret and I never had that kind of clearance.

It is time to make the kinds of chances that break hearts. It is time to make the kinds of changes in which it feels that you have been eviscerated and your guts are hanging outside of your body for the world to see. It is time to let go and get on with life unhindered by 30-year-old anger and disappointment. For every time I talk with you I feel horrible about myself afterwards. I’m selfish. Not appreciative enough, skinny enough, loving enough, a good enough mother, a good enough wife, a good enough partner, a good enough person. Like I am nor will I ever be enough. For anybody and certainly for you.

“You took my power,” he says.

“If you really felt that to be true it was your responsibility to get it back, instead of blaming me for not having the guts to do what you should have done.”

So here it is. The power that you accuse me of stealing.The power that you’ve always had and were afraid to control.  It’s all yours and it always has been. Let’s see what you do with it.

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Ch-ch-ch Changes

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We are in a restaurant discussing the fate of our marriage. The cards are on the table and the chips fall as they may. We spend the next hour talking about finances, what our lives would look like sans one another, and what this rupture would do to our innocent children.

He says: ” If we were to stay together there would be a lot of changes and I am not sure you would like them.”

“What changes might those be?” I ask.

“Well, I’ve never told you this before  but I am pro-life like they house I was raised in. I might want ours to be a pro-life household too. I would want our children to be raised this way.”

Whiplash has slapped me hard because I have shaken my head so violently trying to make this man come into focus again. You mean after 30 years of togetherness you felt like you couldn’t say something about this? WTH.

“And I want to be treated like the man of the house.”

Somewhere I hear the words obey mentioned.

I stare at this man I’ve saved and who has saved me numerous times over the past 30 years. He looks the same on the outside but obviously there is a lot changing on the inside. I’m not sure I like it. Actually, as a feminist I know I dislike it…a lot.

“What does this mean to you? Man of the house?” I ask… while I am thinking to myself…so you are finding your voice and now you want to roar. Roar out all the misunderstandings. Roar out all your “unheard” convictions. Roar out life as you imagine it should be while you figure out who you want to be. You want to be heard after feeling unheard all of your life. A hurt that started with your mother and one that you feel continued on with me.

My eyes stare back, unblinking, both locked into a battle of silent conviction.

“At the end of the day I want to know that my word is the final word.”

And in the end the only thing I can say is nothing. Because talking to this man before me is like talking to a stranger who speaks a different language, has different values, and wants different things than I do.  Things I never knew about. Things I never guessed. They are not the things that delight me. They are sharp and they sting the inside of my heart and of my head.

So I look down at my feet and stare at my crooked big toe observing how it leans to the left, as does my philosophy, and the tears start to glide silently down my face as my awareness of how deep this situation dwells in a land of which I know not; and it seeps from the very center of my pores.

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Thoughts On Betrayal

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It is interesting to me

The number of people who have said

“This doesn’t sound right.”

“Are you sure he isn’t having an affair?”

“You should hire a private detective and find out.”

But I don’t believe he is seeing someone else

And even if I did

I would rather have him live with his own guilt,his own fear, and his lies

Than for me have to live with his betrayal

There was a time I would never have thought this way

Maybe its age or maybe its wisdom,

But whatever it is I want him to feel the whole impact

Of his actions

And I don’t want to feel it

Until/ or if this marriage is done.

I don’t want to take on

What is his to carry

On his own two shoulders

Let his legs buckle under the weight of it all

Not mine

 

 

 

Dyed Love

 

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I loved you once you know

Deeply. completely. selfishly

I devoured you…wanting you to know

Everything I was thinking

Because you couldn’t tell me

What was in your own head

So , instead, I put ideas into your head

While trying to force you to examine things

You had hidden away

From yourself for protection

Of a soul shredded

Long before I came on the scene

I am tired of you blaming me

For what the ghosts in your past

Did to you

And I am tired of seeking answers

From a man is not brave enough

To figure out whether he wants a life with me

Or without

I feel raw, used, scattered

Blown up into pieces that are gone

There is not enough glue in the world

For me to painstakingly put them all together again

Because I am busy and tired of trying to fill up

Your empty spaces and your selfish wants

The ones you know about (yes… those ones you selfish bastard)

And the ones you aren’t even aware of yet

but I am…

I am aware of more than you give me credit for

But I cannot put you together anymore either

You have to do it yourself

Stop depending on me to make

You feel good about yourself again

I can no longer carry your feelings for you

I can barely carry my own

When I remember I even have them anymore

Instead I remember a grenade

That exploded deep within my soul

And you are the one who threw it

Wounding us

You and me

And I wonder if we will ever be the same

For I am running on fumes

Somewhere near the end

Of wanting to figure all of this out

Wanting to run away from the pain

From You

From this life

That at times no longer feels right

Or loving or kind or cherished

A life that is made more complicated

By the issues of others

Until I can no longer differentiate between

Their issues and yours

But find I am growing tired of both

Of giving of myself 100%

When I just want to retreat

Somewhere deep. silent. and kind.

A place where I am no longer wounded

On a daily basis

A place where I can heal

And I can stand up again

Full of confidence. happiness. and belief

That I really do have purpose in my life

And that it starts with me

My purpose. my wants. my needs.

Alone

Without having to consider

And put first

The needs of anyone else in the world

 

 

 

 

 

Shut Down…307 Days To Fix This

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The other night you accused me of shutting down after discussing the “Gwenniferr” incident. You asked me why I shut down. I have been thinking about it and I think I have some answers for the two of us.
I feel crazy when I talk to you and you deny saying things like “I never said I didn’t talk to Gwenniferr or that she never comes to the gym.”
And yet when I talked to my friend she said,  “Yes, that is absolutely what you told me he said the last time we discussed this months ago.”
And then you change your story so that NEVER means every two to three weeks.
And I wonder if Webster would agree with that definition?
I feel your anger or your disgust/disappointment at me and in me for bringing up things that make you uncomfortable. And I feel those feelings you carry so deep inside you and they touch me, strangle me at times, without you even being aware that they are doing so. I am slowly realizing that it is not my job to carry around your feelings but I have been doing it for so many years that I am not quite sure how one just stops. Is it like walking the dog and letting go of the leash? Is it like giving you a lit match and walking away? Is it like pulling up the anchor so I can sail away?
And tonight
I felt your anger in your footsteps that suddenly hit the pavement harder
and I watch as you move out ahead of me, moving faster, as if trying to get away.
I felt it in your physical avoidance of me. I feel your disappointment/disbelief in me and later the words come that I have felt going around in your head all along:
“What’s it going to be next time?”
Accusingly…as if I should not have had these feelings or thoughts
Regarding a woman that you obviously have admired
And that I should not talk about these emotions when I have them
Because I brought up the two most painful things for me in our marriage
On consecutive days
One intentional, one not
And you can’t deal with the feelings of one
Let alone two
I knew you felt the “what’s it going to be next time” long before you said it
I shut down because I feel the heat your words even though you don’t always say them
And I don’t know what to do with your feelings
That I shouldn’t be carrying around at all
And I don’t know what to do with my reactions
To all those unspoken feelings and words
So heavy on my shoulders
The ones that I have lugged around for so long
So you can be free
And I can be burdened
Guessing what these emotions mean
Confused in their context
Trying to put together a picture
With pieces gone
Missing, lost and fuzzy in our memories
Knowing that someone has done something hurtful
But not really sure what it was anymore
Just knowing that the pain has not ended
And I need to stop
Shutting down
(Alternative ending)
And I need to stop
And just kick your ass!