I know it’s confusing to some, how or even why I would want to stay partnered with a person who lied and cheated and systematically betrayed me. How to get past the wounds, and why? Why trust? Why knowingly make myself vulnerable to a proven abuser.
The question of whether to stay, or not, isn’t an easy one to answer, not even for the person smack in the middle of the train wreck. So it certainly wouldn’t be easy to understand for the bystander. There is no one size fits all response to intimate betrayal, not if you’ve been dating someone for a year, and certainly not after you shared a life with this person for more than three decades.
Two years ago last month, one of our employees walked into Blue Eyes’ office (while I was away) and quit, on the spot. He had worked for our company for more than 11 years. He had been difficult all along, but worked hard and was like family at the time of his departure. His closing remarks were rude, disrespectful, and hurtful to Blues Eyes. We then found out he had stolen from us. Blue Eyes hasn’t completely healed from the experience.
Blue Eyes should have let the employee go, a few times, but as our older son said back in 2014, after hearing his father had gone back intermittently to the same woman for eight years to feed his addiction, even though she was physically abusive, “well you know how difficult it is for Daddy to fire people.” So true.
This morning Blue Eyes received an email from a current employee. He’s been with us for a year and is not happy with his one year review, or the fact that we have currently put a freeze on raises and bonuses, amongst other things. The employee copied me and my brother, The Listener (also a managing partner) on his email. Blue Eyes was heading out to take the dogs for a walk when he told me about the email. This morning had already been a bit ungrounding. We woke early to booming thunder showers after two unseasonably hot days (it’s been dark & rainy all day) in Portland and then the news of middle of the night riots across the country, including right here in Portland, two miles from our home. I just now received an emergency alert on my phone about the imposed downtown 8pm curfew.
I didn’t immediately look at the email. I needed to run out and put slug bait down on my new dahlia garden. More on that later.
May has been quite a month so far, with ups and downs, my 57th birthday was two weeks ago. A week later my dad would have turned 78. I think about him every day. He was such a big supporter of me, more than I realized until I went to pick up my phone to call him and tell him something just to realize, I won’t ever be able to do that again. I think about him, his life, who he was, how much of him is in me, regularly. I’m still sad.
Yesterday my mother and stepfather (with prostate cancer, in his spine, turning 80 in a couple weeks) called. They’ve had to postpone his 80th birthday celebration and their 50th wedding anniversary trip due to Covid19. My mom, age 75, has been diagnosed with depression and early onset dementia. In the middle of troubleshooting irrigation problems in the yard, I had an hour long conversation with them about the medications she is being prescribed. It hurts my heart to think about all my parents dying. I need to live each day grasping for all the good… and call my mother more.
I’m not a big fan of birthday gatherings anyway, so sheltering in place this year was fine by me, although strange. The Peacemaker made a beautiful meal for me including this big pot of bacon, jalapeño mac n cheese.
What I’ve really wanted for years, is a dahlia cutting garden so that’s what I gave myself for my birthday. I ordered 40 dahlia tubers from a local dahlia nursery. The Peacemaker has worked with me the past two weeks weeding and removing shrubs, amending soil, and hauling debris in order to make room for my garden. Last night I planted 29 of the 40 tubers but it was dark by the time I finished and I didn’t want to put down slug bait in the dark so I ran out this morning and got it done first thing before the torrential downpours.
Then I called my brother about the employee email.
Blue Eyes had come back from his dog walk and I could tell he was down. I looked at his eyes and they were sad and red-rimmed. I knew he’d been crying. I asked him what was wrong and I could tell from his slumped shoulders and evasive mannerisms that he didn’t want to talk about it, but I pried. I needed to know what he was feeling. He’s down about everything going on right now, but as suspected, he was most upset about the employee. It’s a complicated matter, but the disturbing aspect of what Blue Eyes had to say about it was that this employee, at times, reminds him of Dan, the employee that turned on Blue Eyes and stole from us. I know Blue Eyes has PTSD from that relationship and especially the end of that relationship and the betrayal. Blue Eyes and I had a productive conversation and then I talked to my brother. He kindly took my call even though he was out in the yard in Salt Lake City setting up a slip and slide for his kids after watching the NASA launch. Fun times! Apparently SLC still has their warm, sunny weather.
During our conversation about the employee, we talked about Dan and Blue Eyes concerns for this current employee. Blue Eyes is a tough guy to work for (and be married to), but one of the things my brother brought up was how, over the years, no matter how difficult Blue Eyes was, as a boss, that nothing he ever did was meant to hurt anyone. He’s not a mean or mean-spirited person. Blue Eyes’ deep wounds and self esteem issues were buried so far inside that even Blue Eyes didn’t know what drove his behavior. And he still doesn’t to a certain degree. My brother and I are here to help muddle through this situation. We’re in this together, eyes wide open, and we all have each other.
From the moment I found out about Blue Eyes’ secret life, I instinctively knew what Blue Eyes did, even though it was incredibly painful, and affected a lot of people, not just me, was never meant to hurt anyone. He was punishing himself over and over for his own perceived inadequacies. It all seems counter intuitive, but addiction is that way. I’m grateful I stuck it out. I’m grateful for my team.
I’m so excited for my dahlia garden! I’m hoping that August will be filled with dahlia blooms to share! In the meantime, I took a walk around the yard yesterday with my trusty iPhone camera. Since we are on a hillside, a big portion of our property is rock wall. Things have really come to life over the past few weeks! And BEES! So many cute and busy bees! 🐝