Journal Entry: May 15, 2014
Message to D:
I am looking forward to my session today. I have high hopes. Yesterday was a great day even with airports and airplanes. I did fine. My birthday dinner was fabulous, one of my favorite restaurants. We had a rough morning, unfortunately, but B is at a “meeting” right now so I will have some blessed alone time to shave my legs and take a shower before my first session this afternoon. Weather here is gorgeous. I get to wear one of my summer skirts. Thanks for thinking of me. It means the world! I hope you have something fun planned for the weekend… Love you.
There was something weighing on me pretty much from the moment we arrived in LA for my therapy. It was the fact that I was seeking intensive therapy for the trauma caused by my husband’s betrayal and subsequent sex addict diagnosis, and he was not. It is almost like this has become my problem. Sure my husband does have a therapist back home that he is working with (remember the creepy “leg” guy), but he is losing faith in his therapist, his therapist’s methods, and I am frustrated with my husband’s lack of recovery progress. We are failing every day trying to communicate. Well, more accurately, I am communicating just fine, it is my husband who is struggling with communicating. He goes to his therapy and his meetings, but I don’t see much from that. There is just really a lot of destructive shit going on in our marriage. I mean, I get it, a lot has happened, but why am I the only one that views this whole thing as a critical emergency. I am not going to sit around and wait for him to figure this out. I think he needs to step up his game. The only reason he is with me in LA is because I didn’t want to travel alone on my birthday, and he didn’t want to be home alone because I am sure you can guess what he used to do when he was home alone. When this LA therapist I am about to meet found out my husband would be with me, she was disappointed. She never said he shouldn’t come with me, I guess she assumed I wouldn’t want him to come with me. Maybe I should have left him home. I need to learn to be alone again. He needs to learn to be alone, period. In the past, he chose to fill his “alone” time with porn and other women. Enough already.
As I walked into the LA therapist’s office, I realized I was anxious, nervous, scared, tired, and alone. I am going to call this therapist “Tee.” Ironically, she has the same name as my husband’s 2nd acting out partner, the slutty secretary, which is kind of weird because it is not a very common name. I spent three solid hours with Tee before I got a break. I started crying before I even opened my mouth and I didn’t stop crying for a solid three hours.
It was much more difficult than I could have imagined. We went through my childhood, extensively, deeply, and brutally. My parents married very young. They divorced when I was six and my sister was one. They both remarried the following year. For years, I was my sister’s primary caregiver every time we went back and forth between our parent’s houses and after a few years, even when we were at home. Both my mother and stepfather worked. I was older and often responsible for my siblings, especially after school and on school breaks. When my father and his new family moved to a different state, we had to fly to see him. My sister had horrible separation anxiety and was later diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, with the divorce and separation from my mother potentially being the first trauma in her young life. She would suffer many traumas in her life along with PTSD, and including numerous episodes of sexual abuse. I always felt responsible for her and went through therapy some years back in order to help me separate myself from her pain. Admitting to myself that there was nothing I could do for my sister, no way I could make her happy, only she could do this for herself, was devastating to me. My sister and I have had a much healthier relationship since then. I set boundaries for my interactions with my sister and things have been better. I have not had the heart to tell her about what is going on in my life. I know with her personality disorder she will feel too much empathy for me and it will not be healthy for her. Maybe when I am stronger, and not in such a deep trauma, I can tell her and she won’t feel responsible for my pain. It is like we are tied together emotionally, and it can be very unhealthy. I have learned to deal, but she doesn’t have the same skills. I know how my childhood shaped me into the caregiver I am today. I do not resent this. I have never resented my spot as older sister to many. Apparently what my training has done, however, and that I did NOT realize, is make me more susceptible to people who desire caregiver’s in their lives, namely, some of my friends, and especially my husband. I lamented to the therapist, “why do I attract such needy people, when I went off to college, I wanted to be free of all that responsibility.” She set me straight and let me know it was NOT me seeking THEM, but THEM seeking ME, and because of my training as a caregiver, I never turned them away, I cared for them, and loved them, deeply.
Tee also wanted me to acknowledge that I was given too much responsibility at too young of an age, that it was a form of child abuse. I just do not see things this way. I love my parents and was happy they divorced. I hated their arguing and my father’s constant yelling and belittling of my mother. Ironically, my mother was not the problem, even though my father constantly blamed her for everything. He treated his 2nd wife with the same disrespect and bullying behavior and blame, and he continues to do so, 43 years later. I always knew he was the messed up one, not the women in his life. Thankfully he never raised his ugly voice to me, but I have now learned, ugly behavior and disrespect does not just present itself in the form of overt bullying. My husband has never raised his voice to me, but I digress. I never resented taking care of my sister, or any of my siblings. I do not hold grudges or carry anger with me. I generally loved my childhood and would not trade it.
As we moved forward into my relationship with my husband, it became more clear to me how my personality played into my husband’s need for a stable, organized, self-driven person in his life. It allowed him to live out his addiction cycle while I handled everything else including his home, his children, and eventually, his business. Not only did I fill in where my husband was lacking in our marriage, and also in childrearing, but I also cleaned up his messes with our employees at work. I constantly made excuses for him and his manic behavior. He is an eccentric high-energy entrepreneur who walks all over people’s feelings, but because of his charisma, powerful presence, and intelligence, not to mention he is their boss, people put up with him, and even idolize him. But their feelings get hurt, and I am there to clean up the mess.
When balancing out my love for my husband, there were definitely challenges, but all the negative was outweighed by his strengths and his charm, and so there was never any question that I was willing to do everything I did for our marriage and the life we had together. Until the bomb was dropped and I absorbed all the lies and betrayal he had perpetrated, and the scales went dangerously out of kilter. The good no longer outweighs the bad. The bad is monstrous and evil and insidious and is called addiction.
The next question is, how do I now reconcile everything he has done, with everything I believed about him and our marriage and still make it work? Can I? Apparently this is what we will work on tomorrow. Tee’s biggest concern is that I am not strong enough to walk away if I need to, and she may be right. Right now I really just need a break from all the drama and tears.
Tee also wants to discuss my self harm tomorrow. She wants me to arrive without the bandage. She wants to discuss the potential need for an inpatient program, FOR ME! Nice way to ruin my evening. She asked that my husband and I not discuss my therapy today. That I not rehash everything with him. That we have a quiet evening free from discussion of his sex addiction and my trauma. Wow, if only it were that easy.
So, what did we do? We went to Century City Mall and had delicious crispy peking duck and watched the movie, Chef. It was a fun, uplifting movie. I was pleasantly surprised to see Robert Downey Jr. playing a really weird part. I love RDJ. He brightens my day.