I feel like I am caught in a series of cycles. Menopause is one that is getting the better of me. I know I have written about this before, because I have been “going through” menopause since before I commenced writing this blog. I was about 35 years old when we made the decision not to have more children. I continued to have regular cycles until my 50th birthday. The month I turned 50 I did not menstruate. For the following six months, I did not have a period. I thought how easy would that be if it all just stopped? I didn’t feel any other symptoms of menopause, at that time.
Well, four years have passed and I am still dealing with menopause. After the seven months of reprieve in 2013, my period started up again, just like clockwork. I have since gone another seven months without a cycle, and then nine full months, but the cycle always returns eventually. My doctor ran blood tests to see how far through menopause I was, hormonally. That was almost a year ago. The test showed I was through menopause, all the way through, beyond through. The doc said, yippee, you did it. I went home and two days later… my period arrived. And then it once again arrived like clockwork for another four months. This time six months passed before it started again. Last week, right in the middle of hosting a friend at the beach and also having my older son and his girlfriend in town for the eclipse, my period came on with a vengeance. I didn’t even have any supplies in the house! Honestly, I am so tired of this. I also have trouble sleeping. What with crazy dreams and night sweats, I wake up feeling more tired than when I went to bed. There are other nasty symptoms too, more than I want to think about right now.
Along with the erratic female cycling, I am also feeling down, and when I am down and cycling through the betrayal, and I have never wavered from this, I NEED Blue Eyes to not only be there with me physically, but I need him to own his behavior and the ramifications of his actions. And to be bluntly honest, at this point, I NEVER cycle through the betrayal when I am not with Blue Eyes. The vestiges of the trauma are only present with Blue Eyes. When I say ‘own his behavior’, I don’t mean in a shameful way (although I am fully aware he has a difficult time separating owning his behavior and feeling shameful about his behavior), but in a self awareness way. He does SO MUCH work towards recovering from addiction, and yet, what I ask him to do seems too difficult for him. He can sit in a room full of near strangers (for FOUR days), hold hands, sing, meditate, chant, be silent, whatever, but he cannot sit with me and tell me how it feels to know he hurt me to the deepest parts of me and tell me how it feels to him, for him. I can only believe that when he is alone with himself, he is not healing those deep recesses that allowed him to behave so badly in the first place. He is not enlightened in the way I need him to be. This is why shame is so toxic, it hinders healing. Shame is the enemy right now. Shame is blocking acceptance and progress. I need shame to eviscerate.
This is my gauge of Blue Eyes and his ability to be a viable partner to me. Healing myself is one thing. Feeling good again, being strong, owning me, is totally my job and I work at it every day. Aging and raging hormones don’t help, but I am hanging in there. I am good with me. BUT, being in a partnership requires two people to be working it. Working on themselves AND working on the partnership. Blue Eyes has spent his entire life pretending, hiding, lying, rationalizing, and hurting. Hurting himself and hurting other people. True recovery lies in being able to look himself in the mirror and own EVERYTHING. Then, look at me and own EVERYTHING. I don’t want to have to tell him anymore, what I need. I don’t want to have to coax him, to prod and plead. I am tired. Sure, it would be nice if I just stopped thinking about it all. If I was able to block it all out, ignore the things that cause me anxiety. The big problem here is I am constantly self evaluating. I am self aware. And in that self awareness, I know I need more. Ignoring it all is not the same as handling it.
This past weekend, I was standing at the kitchen counter chopping vegetables for dinner, onions, garlic, zucchini, from our farm CSA, listening to the Simon & Garfunkel Pandora Station on our awesome beach house sound system when I started getting that melancholia. All the songs playing were from the 1970’s, a time before I knew Blue Eyes, and the lyrics, all so familiar. I loved to listen to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 in the 70’s. This was my era, my childhood. I was innocent then. Sure my childhood had it’s share of challenges, whose doesn’t? But I never felt less than. I never felt unloved. I never felt like a burden to anyone, and I never felt like I wasn’t worth being told the truth. My parents were my parents, for all their faults, their humanness, and for all their strengths. I started feeling the weight of the potential mistake I made. The mistake of giving over my heart to someone who wasn’t worthy of holding it. It is a heavy feeling for me. I finished preparing dinner and while we were sitting there eating, I wasn’t present in that gorgeous room, in my beautiful house. I was somewhere else. Somewhere that felt safer. Somewhere from my past. As the tears streamed down my face, I felt sad, really sad.
It took me a couple hours to crawl out of that mood. To shake the gloom, to re-enter my reality and build up the walls. I have to have walls up. I didn’t talk with Blue Eyes about what I was feeling. And the biggest issue I have, is he didn’t talk either. He didn’t ask. He didn’t try to help. I mean he held me and hugged me, but he didn’t speak about what he had done to make me into this person who goes away because she has lost the ability to always stay present in her partnership. On the drive home the next day I asked him if he even cared what had happened the night before. I went into how it happened, why it happened. But he remained disconnected from my feelings, and nearly silent. This is when I pursue. I pursue in him the ability to remain present. I question his neglect, his not wanting to meet me at least half way. To not talk about how he feels about how he has changed me as a human being. Then I have to start putting up the walls again because I need the protection from the reality of knowing Blue Eyes has not met me yet. He has not arrived at that place in the middle, where our partnership is strong, where I feel safe.
As we arrived home to our Portland house, Blue Eyes needed to move cars around. I sat in the road in my car, the car I drive to the beach house, waiting to pull into the garage. As he pulled my old car out of the garage, he hit the side view mirror on the driver’s side and knocked part of it on the ground. I knew he was out of sorts. The conversation on the ride home, my reality, was too much for him. In my opinion, it’s mostly too much because he crawls inside himself and refuses to let the destructive feelings out. When I got out of the car, I commiserated with him about knocking the side view mirror off (I’ve done it twice myself). He was visibly angry. Now where do you think that anger was directed? Of course it was directed at me, but I am used to this. I walked in the house without another word.
Blue Eyes headed off to the office for meetings. I did one of the things I love, I turned on the US Open Tennis Tournament and lost myself in tennis. Later that evening, Blue Eyes turned in for bed without a word to me. No follow up to our (my) conversation about being sad the night before. No conversation about anything. I couldn’t let it go. I keep trying and trying to make this work out my way. I need this. I asked him if he had any feelings at all about what had happened. I don’t often have disconnected moments anymore, but I fear on some days that it is less about healing and more about putting up walls. I convince myself that Blue Eyes will never be the partner I need, so I must settle and compromise. Then the real me wins out and I demand more. I demand something better. Whether Blue Eyes is not capable, or not willing, is yet to be determined. I know on most days he rationalizes he is doing well. And on many days he is doing well. But he is still disorganized, and distant, and a workaholic on many days. He still hides his feelings inside. He has returned to burying himself in his phone, what once was a HUGE trigger is now mostly a tiring symbol of the broken Blue Eyes needing outside stimulation (now, that stimulation is work emails, texting with 12 step guys, online news articles–not porn or texting with his AP) instead of staying present with me. It is very easy to fall back into old ways.
So once again, I pursued. Something will have to give. I can’t keep doing this. It is not helpful for either of us. I was upset that he was refusing to talk with me about my reminders of his betrayal. I was also reacting to his obvious angry and disconnected mood. Most cheaters want it all to be forgotten and when it isn’t, it is somehow our fault for not being able to heal. Well, in my mind that is bullshit and backwards. We are not able to heal because they are not doing the work to allow us to heal. For me, my instincts are strong and they are what drive my trauma. I asked him a simple question. How did I react in the garage when he knocked the side view mirror off the car. He said I was angry and judgmental. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!!! So, I knew this was coming because this is Blue Eyes. He lives is some strange fucked up world that NO ONE else lives in. I actually reacted in a calm and understanding manner. I commiserated with him, but all he heard was what was reverberating from inside him, shame, anger, frustration and all that emotion was directed onto me. This is the not healing part. The resentment. I am not the enemy. I am a human being asking for what I need in order to stay in a relationship that has been battered and bruised… I was emotionally beaten by him and I need to believe he knows and understands and owns it. Of course I cannot change what has been done and I DO NOT WANT HIM TO FEEL SHAMEFUL ABOUT HIMSELF. I want him to own what has caused me the pain, not acknowledge over and over that I am in pain. But unfortunately I know that I am being used as his scapegoat for the feelings he has inside that he cannot manage.
He asked to be given time to write all his feelings down. So, more than 3 1/2 years since discovery, he still has to remove himself from me to metabolize and “write things down.” He is attempting to be open and honest with his feelings with me, but all I want is for him to be able to do this without my asking for it. I want what is important to me, to be important to him. I knew I would never lose my partnership to another woman, but am I to lose this man I love, the father of my children, my best friend, to shame? It feels like I might.