Why?

Almost a year into my divorce and things are starting to settle. I have full custody. Visits happen only when I make the effort. Calls are sporadic. He cares and tries but he’s not the man I want him to be. I’m realizing that.

I’m a good mommy. I love and teach and provide. It’s my purpose and my joy.

I’ve tried dating. I feel smothered by everyone. I like my space. I’m too independent. I work too much. I scare people away. I feel like no one will ever love or understand me. Pieces of the old me are coming back, but I’m not the same. I’m cautious and suspicious. I can’t truly let anyone in. At least not the men I’ve met. They don’t get me.

Now I learn my ex-husband is in the hospital. Says he had a virus that wiped him out. Vomiting for a week. He went in to get fluids. They ran tests. His liver isn’t right. They are still running tests.

I’m not sure my part. Do I call? Check in? Wait for him to tell me more?

I’m sad, scared and frustrated.

I’ve used my pain and experience to start a support group for people like me. I can help them. I do it every Wednesday. But sometimes, I still can’t help myself.

He messed me up.

The papers were filed last week. He should have received them by now. I haven’t heard from him and it terrifies me. It has been almost a year since we separated. He has come to see his son once. He has quit 4 jobs since he left rehab in February. I have no way of knowing if he’s clean. His financial help is sporadic.

I have no idea who he is anymore. I don’t think he knows who he is either. I hate hurting him. I feel so sad and empty inside. Even though I know I am doing what’s best for my son and me I can’t help but feel pain and empathy for the man who has taken so much from me. The man who messed me up.

I spend most of my time reminding myself of the pain he has caused so I can stay on track and be strong for my son. It hurts. I have every reason to be vengeful and spiteful and yet I cannot. I am worried about him. If he can’t see that, it speaks to his character, not mine.

I don’t have to answer to anyone.
I am strong.
I am intelligent.
My child is happy and safe.
He will not grow up around drugs.
He will not grow up around alcohol.
I can afford groceries to feed us.
I can put gas in my car.
I have a car.
I have a roof over my head.
I can (mostly) pay my bills.
I have a stable job.
My son and I have insurance.
No one can belittle me.
No one can steal my joy.
He can no longer take advantage of me.
My kindness is not a weakness.
He can not take from my parents.
He can not yell at me.
He can no longer abandon me.
He can no longer criticize me.
He can no longer control me.
He can no longer put us in danger.
His lack of commitment will no longer affect me.
I will not let his words change me.
I can see who I want.
I can do what I want.
I can go where I want.
I can say what I want.
I can wear what I want.
I can decide what’s best for my son and me.
I can be silly.
I can be serious.
I’m allowed to be smarter than him.
I am not responsible for him.
I can not fix him.
I do not need to be fixed.
I can stand up for myself.
I can laugh at what I want.
I can make friends.
I can trust again.
I don’t need to worry.
I am accepted.
I am worthy.
I am beautiful.
I am enough.
I am lovable.
I am ok.

Will I ever truly believe these statements again?

It’s time.

Six months. It’s now been six months since I moved out. I’m doing much better. I feel happier, healthier and more confident. I struggle at times, but I now see each day as a gift, rather than another day I have survive. My best days are the ones where I don’t hear from him. It had been six weeks since we’d heard from him. I was feeling pretty good.

I didn’t know if he was working, where he was living, or if he was sober. I planned to take his son down for a visit. We had the car loaded and were pulling out of the drive when I received a text asking me not to come. I could only assume he was detaching and he no longer had interest in being a husband or a father. It hurt that he would turn away a chance to see his son, but I wasn’t surprised. More of the same.

After two weeks had passed, he calls. He wants to see his son. He says I’m taking too long to make decisions. I said he was welcome to come and visit. He could not stay with us, but I would bring our son to spend the day with his father. I let him use the car seat, the pack and play, diaper bag, etc. I supplied everything to help make the day go smoothly. For the first time in six months, he actually showed up to spend the day with his son.

I learned that he was working – had been for 2 weeks and was beginning to get back on his feet. He gave me $800 to help pay for the car, insurance and cellphone that are still in my name. It was the first time I had received money from him in 2 months. It was more than I expected, but not enough to cover the bills. He took our son (along with his mother) to the park, out to lunch and toy shopping. Our child had a great time.

The next morning I get texts about how much he misses us and how hard his day has been. Did he even consider the effect all this had on me? I cried for the 4 hours I was away from my son. I cried the whole way home. The entire week was spent depressed and withdrawn, so much in fact, that my boss mentioned noticing a change in my behavior. All the progress I made was gone. The shaking returned and once again, I lost my appetite.

I realized, after seeing him, that I’m trying to do the right thing – allowing my son to know his father, but even though he’s sober (I think) I cannot let this man back in to my heart. He didn’t come to see us. He goes for weeks on end without calling. When we do talk, we argue. He continually tries to make me feel selfish and guilty. He says he’s changed but I don’t see it. I question what type of influence he may have over our son and makes me sick. The thought of living under the same roof as this man physically makes me ill. It’s a visceral reaction that I cannot control. I wish I could.

He called yesterday asking if I would make the 4 hour drive at the end of this month so he can see his child again. I agreed. Then he asked where I stood. Why is it taking so long for me to come back? Have I made a decision? He’s changed and I’m not even giving him the chance to show me. I tried to explain how much happier I am without him. How I love being around my family and friends who love and value me. I love my job and where I live. I love that our child gets to spend time with his cousins and grandparents. He said I am being selfish for my choosing my happiness, freedom and what I have now over keeping my family together (him and my son and me). He said I was doing our child a disservice by keeping his parents separated. I told him I left because I thought it was in the best interest of our child. I told him our child needs to be witness to a healthy relationship or else he’ll turn out the same way and the cycle will continue.

He said I’m not giving him the chance that he deserves. I said I feel sick at the thought of opening my heart to him after he destroyed me and all of my dreams. The abuse, the drugs, the stealing, the lies. I can’t open my world up to that. I will never see him the way I once did. He will never be the man I hoped he would be. How could I take any comfort in his presence? How could I find security, trust or respect in our union. He is not the person I want to share my life with. How could he be? How do people get past this? Maybe I am selfish, but I can’t let it go. I can’t risk the possibility of returning to the way it was. Not just for me, but also for my son. He deserves more. I have lost weight, I suffer from anxiety, I see a counselor and I’m in serious debt because of his addiction and all of the gaslighting and emotional abuse.

I can’t go back to that. Even if he’s completely recovered, it still scares me to be around him. I know what he can do to me and I don’t want to let down the guard I’ve worked so hard to erect. He says I could let him in if I tried harder and that I needed to admit my part in all this. I’m the one who packed up and moved his son out of state. He says I’m the reason we’re apart now. He’s back on track.

I can’t do this anymore. There is no way this man can love me and treat my child and me the way we deserve to be treated. I’m done. It’s time.

What is love? Baby don’t hurt me, no more.

tumblr_mh1r04tcl31r0yq4zo1_500I work as a marketing director for a nonprofit organization that counsels those in need. The most popular services are relationship building classes and workshops to teach people to overcome addiction. Could there be a more perfect job for me? I seriously love it and I am so grateful to have a job that allows me the financial independence to take care of myself and my child.

Right now I am sitting through a marriage seminar. There are 8 couples who have come together to learn more about their spouse in order to build a better relationship. Many of them are holding hands and giggling silently at inside jokes. Others are leaning into each other and actively participating in the exercises and worksheets.

This is torture. I’m trying to have an appreciation for these wonderful people and their needs for love and companionship. Do they realize how lucky they are to have a partner who cares enough to attend a relationship building workshop? So attentive, they are.

I haven’t heard from my husband in 10 days. Nothing at all. Not even to check in with our son.

I have a smile plastered on my face as I welcome the group and facilitate the meeting. I shift my wedding band from one hand to the other. I cannot convince myself to leave it in once place. Either hand feels wrong to me. This tiny little circle of trust has been broken. What happened to my marriage? I am numb to the idea of a relationship…with anyone.

According to this seminar, there are ways to fix a broken marriage 91% of the time. Am I part of the other 9%? When did I become a statistic? I cringe at the thought. With each day that passes, I lose hope that my marriage can ever be repaired. I’m not even sure how I feel about that. I’m experiencing a peace. What will be, will be. I didn’t cause the downfall. I did my very best to prevent it.

I still feel lonely. I still cry at unexpected times. But I’ve learned that peace can be present with pain. They are not synonymous feelings.

My life is stuck on “Spin Cycle”

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I spoke to my husband today. Unlike last week’s conversation, there was no yelling this time. I tried very tactfully to use the right words to get him to understand my feelings. I’ve been trying to get him to understand for months. No amount of tact or stomping and screaming works. I don’t think he has the mental capacity to understand. He sees the world one way – his way.

Since I moved away, I’ve sought advice and support from family, friends, pastors and counselors. Not one of them has said I did anything wrong by packing up and leaving to get out of my situation. No one has said I’m a horrible person, or that I broke my wedding vows. No one has said that I deserve this. My head knows they are right. My head also knows that I deserve better. It’s my heart that hangs on. My faith in God gives me hope that my husband will change, not my faith in my husband.

I wish I had more confidence. Every conversation with my husband leaves me confused. It’s like I’m speaking a foreign language or the points I’m trying so very hard to convey are somehow twisted and backwards. I can’t formulate thoughts and what I mean to say becomes lost in a parallel universe or gets sucked into a vacuum. I point out flaws or actions that hurt me, but somehow he becomes the victim and I’m the one who’s done the hurting.

In one sentence he said to me that we can never reconcile or repair our marriage when we are living in separate states. When I tell him I moved because he left me no choice and I needed to heal, he says there is always a choice and it’s MY decision to move that has wrecked our relationship..not his actions. Then he tells me that he can’t move closer to me because he can’t afford it and he has no furniture or job where I am. I sit there perplexed. How is this my fault? Why am I the one who needs to take action and make changes. Shouldn’t a truly remorseful person be willing to go to the ends of the earth to get what they want? Why would he give up? Am I that easily replaced? Because I think I’m pretty awesome.

I tell him I’m unhappy with how he treated me and I can’t trust him. He says I’ll never be happy until I can forgive him and let go of the past. That I’ll be miserable as long as I’m harboring resentment for all the times he’s hurt me. That I am too sensitive. If I wasn’t living in the past, I could heal faster and make progress and we could reconcile sooner. I’m the one who’s hindering all this.

He says I’m a great mom and he knows our son is in good hands. Then he says I’m being unfair to our son by keeping his father away from him. You know, because I moved away. Oh, my husband could move here, but he shouldn’t have to. He’s the one recovering from drug addiction and I should have been there for him and done what was needed to help him get better. I’ve created undue complications and stress in the relationship. He may have made a mistake but my actions have contributed the problems. We both have work to do. What?

He also says that my humble goals, conservative nature and basic needs aren’t ambitious enough and I’m holding him back by not thinking big. Because you get out of life what you put into it. But he also says I’m a gold-digger and all I ever wanted was a cushy lifestyle. He confuses my need for emotional support and financial security for wealth. He’s the one who measures success by the size of his wallet. He’s the one who made fun of me when I said being rich isn’t important to me.

How can his contradictions make me feel wrong? I don’t understand. This is all so confusing. Am I really this messed up? It’s almost like I’m brainwashed. The sad part is that I doubt he even realizes what he’s doing to me.

I want nothing more than acceptance and validation from this man. I want him to tell me that I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to him and that he sees the error of his ways. I’m angry that my own personal validation and acceptance is not enough. I know that I don’t NEED his approval to be happy. I just need to learn how to stop WANTING it.

How did I let this happen? Is he controlling me or am I allowing him to control me? Am I weak or conditioned to react a certain way?

I tell him that I’m tired of putting his opinions and approval before my own. He says that is a sign of a true love…putting someone else before you. Although I can’t see that he’s ever put me first? He perceives himself as one of the most loving and giving creatures on the planet. He would give a stranger the shirt off his back but he would not give me respect. I must not deserve it. I do talk too much. I do pick the worst times to try to talk. I should know better than to make plans when he wants to watch sports. I should not expect him to comfort me when a loved one passes away. I am much too needy. I should not expect acknowledgement on my birthday or any other holiday. There is no need for him to wait for me to get off work before having dinner. I should not expect him to stay home instead of going to a bar while I’m working nights. I should ask for a hug if I need it and say what I think. He is not a mind reader. I should not comment that he’s been gone for too long or question any decision he makes. I should try to keep the peace at any cost, and willingly forgive any mistakes. That is what true love is. That is what I learned.

I have trouble reconciling what I want to do with what he thinks I should do or how I actually feel with how he thinks I should feel. I’m pretty messed up, huh?

I told him I have been living my life for the last 8 years always expecting the worst and being happy and surprised when the worst didn’t happen. He says that’s ok because how would I recognize happiness if every day was happy? I read too many books and watch too many movies. My perception of life is skewed and behind closed doors everyone is miserable.

But I think to myself as I type this…wouldn’t it make more sense to expect the best and deal with the worse when it comes along, instead of living in constant fear and confusion?

Is this abuse?

Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone.

Actually the world is weeping with me today. As the tears stream down my face and I struggle to catch my breath, the sky is dark with clouds and I take small comfort in hearing the wind howl as raindrops pelt against my window.

I posted yesterday about visiting my husband over the weekend. All the emotions that stirred within me gave me pause. I tossed and turned each night this week, struggling with the idea of having a future again with this man. Could I possibly let down my guard? He had been given me needed space. No harassing messages. Was I safe? Was the pain starting to dull? Had he given up on me? Did I really ever matter to him? Did he miss me? Why wasn’t he calling? Was I beginning to romanticize our past?

After 3 days of silence from him, I came home from work yesterday to a box of flowers that had been delivered to my stoop. I pulled into the garage, checked the mail, changed clothes and straightened up the living room before retrieving the box. All this an attempt to delay the inevitable. These flowers were not from my husband. I knew it, but there was a tiny part of me that wished they were.

I opened the box to discover a beautiful bouquet of  yellow flowers with a note that said “Sending a big hug and smile your way. Miss and love you!” The note was signed by a dear friend who has been a wonderful confidant and support for me through the years.  They were not from my husband but I accepted them with gracious tears and set about arranging them in the accompanying vase. I had not received flowers like this in years.

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I went next door to pick up my son. I chatted with my mom about work and mentioned to her that I had not heard from my husband in several days and I planned to call and see how he was doing. Moments later, the phone rang. It was him. He listened briefly to little man’s babbling on the phone before asking me to step away so he could talk to me. I didn’t anticipate what was coming. He barely completed his first sentence before I broke down.

He told me he was moving to my town. He wanted see our son half the time. He couldn’t wait any longer for me to make up my mind and it was his son too…he deserved to see him half the time. He said I was dangling a carrot in front of him by not making a decision. There was no mention of moving back to spend time with me. No mention of trying reconcile and take it a day at time and see what happens. No mention of taking things slowly to see how little man might adjust to having his father sperm donor (is this harsh?) back in his life. He claimed to be sober and healed of his addiction and ready be a dad. There was no talk of how I have endured a living hell and no apologies for what he’d put me through.

Instead the was blame cast at me for putting him in this situation. Poor guy has no home. I left his clothes and belongings (what he hadn’t sold for drugs) with his mother in boxes and bags. What kind of loving wife would do such a thing!? Here is a man who is trying to right his wrongs and go to rehab when his wife moves to a new town and takes their baby boy away from him. What an incredibly horrible human I am! I left when he needed me the most. I abandoned him and the vows I made in front of our family and God. Sure, he’d made a mistake, but so did I and “two wrongs don’t make a right”.

I was appalled and befuddled. Who does this man think he is? And why on earth can he not see that all of this is HIS FAULT! Every single minute of pain and despair is caused by him. He can’t see it. It’s not just that he doesn’t want to. I truly do not believe he can. Always the victim, this guy. He has the ability to snow everyone else into believing his perspective. The former version of myself included.

He went on to say he wanted some of the furniture. And that I was a gold-digger who only ever cared about the comfortable lifestyle he was once able to afford me. His claimed that all the other times I found out about his drug use I stayed – because we had hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank. But now that he’s broke, I want out. He wouldn’t even hear me when I explained how hard I tried to support him and how this time it was different because we have a baby.

Who is this man?

I had to talk to my parents and my pastor for hours last night to even be able to calm down. What is wrong with me?

I once wanted to raise our child together. I wanted to grow a family with the man I thought he could be. Now I’m not sure who he actually is, and I’m reluctant to let my child be around him. I’m not sure how to proceed. I don’t want to keep my child from knowing his dad. That doesn’t seem right either. I never thought it would come to this. I truly thought he had taken enough from me…my dreams, my security, our savings, our home, my job, my friends, my city, my dignity. Thank God for my family. I wish he could understand that his wife and child could be living in a SHELTER if it weren’t for them. If I am ever in a position to give back financially – women’s shelters are at the top of my list.

I did some reflecting last night and before falling asleep I realized that I am still living in a cycle. It’s a cycle that only now am I able to recognize. My initial instincts were to reunite with my husband so I could be with my baby regardless of my own happiness. I know this is not right. But my husband is playing on my need to keep the peace. It’s what I do.

I also knew that at some point today, or tomorrow or next week, I would get an apology from him. He would try to smooth things over and pretend that it was no big deal. Just another bump in the road. His words didn’t matter because he loves me. In some way I believe he truly does. I don’t think his intentions are always malicious. I’m honestly not sure he’s even aware of what this does to me. Maybe I’m wrong.

At 11:13 this morning, I received this text:

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At least I am able to recognize the pattern. I think I may be making progress after all.

I also forgot to mention that I changed my username from somethinggoes to mom2fc. It’s still me and I’m still trying to get better. I changed my username because I started a second blog with my witty, supermom best friend. It’s a casual and funny parenting blog where we can express the joys and trials of motherhood with our own sarcastic humor. You can check it out here: totsandwhatnots.wordpress.com.