The good girl. The designated driver. The one who looks around for who might have dropped that $20 bill in the mall parking lot and then turns it in to the security desk. I’m the one who got straight A’s, always. The teacher’s pet. The good friend, never the mean girl. I’m the one who at six years old spent whole weekends cuddling my baby sister because she had anxiety over being separated from our Mom. I’m the one who pays her bills on time and in full, and always has. I’m the girl who never cheated on anyone.
I’m also the girl who doesn’t hate the unscrupulous builder who lied and cheated his way to hundreds of thousands of dollars of our hard earned money. I don’t hate the bully lawyer, who, red-faced and sweaty, pounded his fists on the arbitration table knowing all along that the game he was playing was for a victory. So much lying and manipulation. I still believed the truth would win. I still want to believe that.
I’m the girl who ruminates about how I can help the guy who invaded our house, broke a bunch of stuff, and bled all over our things. In my mind, I still see the drops of blood on my discarded office chair and on that hand-made quilt my mom gave us for our 20th wedding anniversary. I see the shattered hand-painted one-of-a-kind Turkish plate so violently smashed in our hallway. I still see puddles of blood all over the since removed carpets, and I still think about what could have happened. We found out he was released from jail a week ago. They say he’s an honorably discharged 31 year-old vet with a job and an address. That he didn’t intend to steal anything or hurt anyone. We found out that he was arrested the day before the break in for assaulting a police officer, but that wasn’t in his record yet. I’m so thankful our son had the wherewithal to get out of the house and to safety, but I also think about how to get that guy into rehab.
I’m the girl who when my husband told me about his secret sex life, I felt sorry for HIM. I’m the girl who has spent the past six years learning to understand sex addiction and to forgive. Because not being able to forgive the person who shares the most intimate aspects of your life, is mean. Right? I am still learning to trust because my subconscious sends constant reminders of things he did and said that broke my heart. Even right there, I started to type “the things he did and said TO break my heart,” and then I deleted and re-wrote it, in a passive way. To take away some of his blatant culpability… because… he loves me right? And a person who loves someone wouldn’t do those things TO their love. There is some reason he could do those things. Addiction makes perfect sense to me, until I try to understand how the person I thought I knew for 30 years, could be so very cruel.
Being the nice, loving, forgiving, empathetic girl that I am is destroying me. That angry, indignant behavior that helps us all survive, was nurtured right out of me at an early age. The voice in my head that should be saying “take what you need, don’t let others use you,” isn’t there. I always took care of others and what I learned in trauma therapy the first time around, is that I need to get some of that anger back somehow. It’s called self care. I need to be selfish sometimes instead of selfless. Even typing this sounds so very wrong. When I have Blue Eyes bring me a cup of tea, I feel guilty, and I know why. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I don’t want to burden people. When I told Blue Eyes that I had emailed the Los Angeles trauma therapist, his comment was, “I hope she can see you while we’re there next week.” Sounds alright, right? Until I realized he was talking about the expense of time and money from having to make a second trip to LA. When we found out she’s out of town this week, but can see me next week for intensive trauma therapy, Blue Eyes actually looked disappointed. It will mean flying back to LA again next week. It will mean spending a lot of money, and I feel guilty.
I am a changed person since I found out about my husband’s secret life. The home invasion sent me right back into the girl who wants to hide in her closet and release some of the pain. A girl who looks around and sees people who want to hurt her. A girl who sees blood everywhere. I was NEVER like this before. I never had a lonely or depressed day before discovery. I’m not kidding. I just wasn’t that girl. I never questioned my status as the caretaker, and I rarely had a bad day. Well, I never had a WHOLE bad day, maybe an hour? I was the girl who could do anything, handle anything. I honestly don’t even know who I am anymore. Sometimes I go through days without remembering much and sometimes I honestly cannot believe this is my life.