Oh, geez. We made it to that Monday morning I was dreading and things aren’t much better for me. Maybe I need to get out and get some exercise. I have been so tired lately, but today is the day to get off my ass and work out.
Last night we went to a movie with my parents. It was the five of us: me, Blue Eyes, The Peacemaker, my mother and father. My mother had read Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” a couple years back and actually met her at a book signing and since there weren’t a lot of people at the bookstore, they talked for a bit. My mother was purchasing the book to read for her book club and she didn’t know much about it. She did end up loving the book and then cherished her personal chat with Cheryl even more. A few months ago she gave her book to me and Blue Eyes to read, 1) because she really liked it, and 2) because she thought it somehow applied to our situation, maybe. We have had so much going on and I was in the middle of another book, which took me months to finish, so I guess what I am saying is, I never got around to finishing reading “Wild.” Now it seems the movie has come and gone from the theaters, but it was showing at one theater downtown and so we all agreed to go see the movie with my mother. No doubt my father and The Peacemaker would have rather seen something else, but they were troopers.
When we left the theater, my mother was so cute (she is adorable anyway) and she apologized for the use of the “F” word in the movie (but she did not at all mention the many Reese boob shots, or the other extramarital sex/nude scenes, hmmm). She didn’t remember the “F” word being so prevalent in the book. Maybe they just added it to make the movie more marketable, but she was highly offended by it every time Reese Witherspoon said it, or it was written across the screen. Funny that she was apologizing to me, her 51 year old daughter, to my husband, a diagnosed sex addict, and to her 21 year old Grandson who plays violent video games and listens to rap music. She is so cute.
After having my eyes opened to the fact that I have been living with a sex addict for 30+ years, personally I think Cheryl must have had some kind of temporary trauma-induced break down that catapulted her into the heroine/sexual infidelities as portrayed in the movie. Based pretty much on what I saw in the movie, she does not appear to be an addict to me. It felt like she had let grief (and childhood wounds) after the untimely death of her mother envelop her and she acted out, but that she got herself under control enough to set about on a 1000 mile hike. An unrecovered addict (in my limited knowledge and opinion) cannot just set out on such a hike and nothing in the movie led me to believe Cheryl went through rehab. Not that anyone told me Cheryl is an addict, but I think the movie is actually saying she was on a path of self discovery, not on a path of recovering from addiction. So, I easily separated the movie from anything in my own life, EXCEPT, the depraved sex scenes in the movie were a HUGE TRIGGER for me. That “sick in the pit of my stomach” feeling kind of trigger. As I watched her husband drag her naked body out of a horrifying sex and drug-induced haze, I wished desperately that that had happened to my husband. That all those years ago he had become so depraved in his addiction that he had done something, anything, to alert anyone that he was a sex addict. Instead, he was able to creatively and secretly hide his other life and carry on with multiple women and live a lie for decades.
I liked the movie and I think Cheryl Strayed is inspirational. I love her quotes and her strength. Anyone that can drag themselves out of that kind of pit of despair certainly deserves happiness and success. The movie did not, however, help my already shitty mood from earlier in the day.
This morning, Blue Eyes sent me this email from work:
Well I just finished some more work on the 4th step and really tapped into the anger and resentment / self hatred. Now trying to come down from it slowly and prepare for the day. I love and miss you tons and while I know there is nothing I can do, I am truly sorry for all pain I have put you through because of my inability to deal with my family….there is much self hatred and anger and resentment coming from there……it is huge…
Here is to a great week where we get plenty of sleep, eat the right things, do the elliptical and our walks. Also salad and steak at our favorite restaurant sound really good. No cake :).
To my beautiful angel
I love you so
your pony tail
time for you to be tickled and to have a picnic in the sunshine
I wish I was at that place in my journey where I could just read all good things from this email. Appreciate the fact that he is working a step, that he is saying loving and kind words, that he is being playful. Instead, my mood prompts me to write this response:
I really love picnics in the sunshine. I think there are a lot of other things I love that I have forgotten about, or pushed aside. I think the same has happened to you. I am glad you are working on your 4th step and garnering some enlightenment. It is not my job to put words in your mouth or re-direct your thoughts, but I don’t think your parents/family are the the only things in your life that bring out your anger and resentment.
I have really been thinking about this and because of this deep-seated lack of awareness on your part (in my opinion), I think you have resented many of the decisions you have made. I think we met too young. I think you feel like life decisions were put upon you when in fact you were making the decisions for yourself. You decided to be in a relationship with me. You decided to go to Japan. You decided to return from Japan. You decided to marry me. You decided to have a family with me. You decided how your career would progress. You decided to go to Law School. You decided what you were going to be/do in life. I was cleaning up in our room and I quickly browsed through those journals from Japan again (and later). A few things pop out at me. First, the fact that you don’t even mention my arrival in Japan. Second, the only time you do mention me in your journal is when you talk about my wanting to start a family and how you are not ready and how you want to travel, etc… The thing that is so weird about that is what I was really obsessed with was finishing my education. I do not even remember discussing children at 23 years old, especially after the miscarriage of a couple years before. I did not want to start a family. I wanted to finish college and get established in a career. I knew you were planning to go to law school. Even when we conceived in that last year of law school, it was not planned. You know that. It is weird how you just make up shit in your own mind that has no basis in reality. Third, in a later entry in your journal, you merely refer to me as “your wife.” I guess for me, after we had been married for a few years and had two children, and you are writing a journal and you refer to me as “your wife,” just gives me a cold, creepy feeling. I know you cannot reflect now on why you wrote something when you were 30-ish years old, but it really opens my eyes and confirms my feelings that we are all just pawns in this game you are playing. People are not people to you, they are things to be manipulated and controlled and moved around at your will.
I think along the way some of those decisions you made for yourself became stressful for you and it was easier for you to act out in order to try and deal with the stress versus taking responsibility for your own choices and/or reaching out to the person who loves and cares for you most. Your behavior was selfish and hurtful. I do not believe that you overtly felt like other people were making decisions for you, you are not that self aware. I think you were just frankly resentful and you didn’t realize it and didn’t know why. I realize the lies do extend back to the very beginning. You have lived inside yourself and your own head since the very beginning. It was never “we” for you. It was “we” for me, but you never were a true partner. Sure, you did stuff as part of a coupleship. You worked to bring in money (as have I over the years), you took out the garbage (mostly) and some other household chores (but not a lot), you took care of your child/children when you were around, but at the same time, you chose not to be around a lot of the time. You chose a solitary life where you could feed your addiction while at the same time neglecting us as a family.
The thing that really makes all of these realizations so difficult for me is not the fact that I cannot go back and change or fix any of it, it is the fact that you are now in recovery, attempting to alter some of your behavior and your way of thinking and your coping strategies, but at the same time, I am trying to figure out if you are even capable of being a real partner. It is a true dilemma for me. Prior to dday, I would have done anything for you, believing so wholly in the good in you. Now I know the extent to which you sacrificed my happiness for your own selfish needs and that is just overwhelming. I am not sure you will be able to alter your way of thinking enough to ever truly put others before yourself or to feel deep down the depth of the consequences of your actions. When you snuggle up to me, I know it is not because you are trying to comfort me or out of a feeling of overwhelming love, it is because you feel lonely and you are trying to fulfill your own need. Normally, I would jump at the chance to help you fulfill your needs, but now that I am fully aware of how little you care/d about my needs, it makes it much more difficult to fall easily into a loving pattern with you. You are always trying to fulfill your own needs without evaluating the impact on all involved. If when you snuggled up to me, you said something loving and truly kind and heartfelt, it might feel different. It might feel like you are not just a small child trying to get the nurturing you desperately seek. Last night, when you wrapped your arms around me (in a way that was not conducive to sleep), I asked you what you were doing. You said you were cozying me. I need more than that from you in terms of communication. I need you to be honest with what your actions mean. You still have great difficulty communicating. When I say something that should start a conversation, you shut down. I think you think if I just get it out, it will be enough. It will help me heal. Unfortunately, it is quite the opposite. The more I say that goes unanswered by you, the further I feel from a true marriage. No matter how many times I have asked you to be present and speak, talk, say what you feel. Either you just don’t feel, or you are still unable to really share. I do not see this as viable recovery in terms of the relationship. This recovery is not just about you. You have fucked over a lot of people, you cannot just pretend like you can have those relationships you want because you want them. People are not robots. You have to do your share, and perhaps your share is now actually more than my share, or anyone else’s share. You have to work harder and stop giving yourself a pass.
You are completely and 100% culpable for all the actions you have done over the past 30+ years. You cannot blame anyone. I am not sure you truly embrace this concept because I think you are still rationalizing what made you do what you did. YOU made you do what you did, and you are still doing things that sabotage a relationship.
I realize your relationship with your parents catapulted your addiction and it all started way back when, however, you have had many opportunities in our marriage to show up as a man and you chose not to. I am waiting to see if you show up this time.
“I’d finally come to understand what it had been: a yearning for a way out, when actually what I had wanted to find was a way in.” ― Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
I think it is time for me to go for a long walk, do some work, and then write another post about Paris. Paris makes me happy.