Sabotage

catastropheI don’t know if I can accept unconditional love.

Growing up, my mother didn’t know how to communicate a love without expectations. Even to this day, when I mentioned to her that I made a good grade on a recent MSW assignment, my mother replied with “Looks like you’re going to be my ‘A’ student again!” In short, anything lower than an A is just not quite as good. I remember actually getting disciplined with a belt because I made an F on an assignment in the 4th grade. The hyper-critical nature of my mother implanted a subconscious notion in myself that if I can’t do things perfect, it’s just not quite as good. Along the way, I accepted I wasn’t perfect, but I never wholly abandoned that gnawing, perfectionist voice.

I’ve noticed a pattern since Carlie died and my marriage fell apart. I am terrified at the thought of losing someone I love again. This terror leads me to many bouts of self-sabotage. The moment there’s friction in my relationship, I give up. Even if I’m in the wrong. Because it’s just too damn hard to put your all into a person without the guarantee that they will stick around forever. Sometimes I wonder if my ex got the best parts of me. Perhaps I’m a used up, cynical shrew who will never find happiness in a man again.

It makes me angry to know that my ex fed this insecure monster inside of me. That a man like Kyle, who loves me, is patient with me, and intuitively understands what I need, is still viewed as a threat. If he expresses any form of anger, disappointment, or frustration… I freeze. That voice inside of me pulls me into the darkness I create. I start to have flashes in my head of my ex giving up. Smashed glasses and computer screens. Hidden Facebook conversations he had with other females. The many times he called me crazy. The time he grabbed the video camera and filmed me as I was falling apart. Making me feel insane for so many years, only for me to find out later that he was the one with a mental sickness; indeed, sometimes I wonder if he brought on my own mental health issues. My ex gave up, while I gave him the best four years I could physically, emotionally, and spiritually muster. I tried to do everything right. I played the crazy role so that he could pull me back into sanity, because that is the role he put me in. And it still failed. He still abandoned me. And I cannot handle the possibility of another abandonment.

So, when I’m hurt from an argument and curled up inside, the easiest path to take is running from the pain. But it doesn’t happen before I spout out all levels of verbal vomit, like a wounded animal afraid for anyone to get close to tend to the wound. And he can only take so much. He becomes upset at my ability to give up so easily, and I become upset with the same fact. However, sometimes eliminating the source of pain is the easiest way to numb it. Many times I think he’d be much better without me. I look at the bags underneath his eyes after I’ve fell apart for a millionth time, and I know it is wearing on him. And I don’t know if I can allow myself to damage him any further. If I’m miserable, I should be miserable alone. I shouldn’t drag anyone down with me. That is selfish to the fullest degree. But I also don’t know if I can do this without him. Which is also selfish.

Sometimes, truly, living is just too damn difficult.

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Damn you.

Damn you for convincing me at the start that I couldn’t do better.

Damn you for making me feel crazy.

Damn you for giving up on us.

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I know I shouldn’t do it. Facebook sometimes has me believing I need to delete, if only to protect myself from unnecessary hurt. But I have friends on Facebook…friends I may never meet in person, but who are there for me as I walk through this barbed-wire road.

But I did it.

I looked at his engagement photos.

It turns my stomach. I swallow down acid that threatens to spill over.

Why would he do this to me? Could someone honestly be so selfish?

Timeline of events:

July 2012 – Sweet Carlie Wren ended her short time on earth

February 2013- Separation for reconciliation

November 2013 – Divorce finalized

June 2014 – He becomes engaged to the woman he met while he and I were separated. The woman he met when he was supposed to be helping me. Supporting me. Loving me. Grieving with me.

July 2014 – He will be married. Again.

For so long, I tolerated how things went. I felt as if I were to blame, so I internalized guilt. But now, to see how effortlessly he’s moved on is like a butcher knife to my freshly-mangled heart. And I realize, no matter how often he tried to convince me that I was insane, no matter how many times he manipulated me into believing that it was the majority of my fault… I now know that he is a broken man. I defended him, even as soon as the beginning of this year. My therapist told me she would put money on the fact that he would be engaged and married by the end of 2014. It sounded surreal. I denied that. Surely not.

It terrifies me, really. I was so sure of my life with him. I wouldn’t have married him if I wasn’t, or given him my virginity that I held so close to my heart and defined as my level of purity. I shamefully admit that I offered this to him in efforts to keep his eyes and heart from wandering, even when we were in the dating stages. I was that sure about him. Sure enough to forsake so many things.

And for what?

I never want to let a man in again. I don’t trust men as far as I can throw them (which, even with my 9 Round participation, isn’t very far). That may be a generalization, but there you go. The one person I thought rose above the stereotype I’m finding was actually detrimentally worse. He just craftily hides behind religion and good deeds so people don’t recognize this.

I fear he’s ruined me for life. For a life of a second family. The thought of even beginning that process again exhausts me. Yes, I dated someone shortly after the divorce was decided. I know now that was a rebound, and I wish I could take back those 6 months of my life. But the reality is, no matter how screwed up that person was and is, they helped me not feel so damn lonely. But never for one second did I even entertain the thought of marrying again. How could I?

I don’t pick men well. I didn’t have a father growing up, and my mother dated a few men who didn’t really communicate the definition of what I needed to look for in a man. I’ve learned recently that I gravitated toward men who were wounded, trying to fix them. I was attracted to those that would treat me as less than what I deserve, because I didn’t recognize I deserved more. I skipped over “nice guys” time and time again because they were “too nice” or “boring.” I instead looked for the ones who would make me laugh, who were child-like, and who sometimes used me as punchlines for their jokes. I thought this was normal. “You can’t help who you’re attracted to, right?”

Wrong. I’m learning that now. A man will have to shatter several walls in order to get to the place that I’ve sealed up now. I’m hyper-vigilant. The slightest indication that the person is anything like my ex husband, and I tend to run in the opposite direction.

He’s revolutionized the way I view men. I look at men as if they are going to try and get away with anything they can as long as I’m aloof. Enter the hyper-vigilance. It’s not like I had a firm grasp of what a man was, period. Absence of a fatherly figure will do that, especially if you have no one to fill that gap and explain to you what to look for in a man.

He was my everything. Now he’s nothing to me.

How can I put myself through the possibility of that happening again?

This is how a heart breaks over and over again.

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The cold calculation in which he did this has torn me apart.

In every aspect.

The day we first signed the papers, he inquired as to whether I wanted to keep the name Calvert, or switch back to my maiden name. It was so nonchalant, like two strangers talking about the weather. It made me sick.

He claimed he tried to call me twice to meet with me and give me those papers. Yet he only gave me two minutes to call him back before he was gone, with this charming little note left on top of the paperwork in my car.

I’m not making him out to be the villain. Maybe I’m the bad guy, though I tried to reconcile. Until I had nothing left of myself to give.  I just don’t understand how someone can harden their heart so deeply toward a person they once wanted to spend the rest of their life with. Even in the midst of me agreeing to the separation, I would tell him time and time again how much it tore me apart that he didn’t regularly contact me. I let him know that he mattered. I tried my hardest, despite the situation, to communicate that I still wanted things to work out. Most of the time he stood there with a blank look on his face. Was I just a fill in? A rebound from his first marriage? I don’t know that I’ll ever truly understand. How someone can switch feelings on and off like that.

 

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