Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum

Exasperation

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You know, you would think after twenty-six years – the first twenty-one of which seemed to be pretty smooth, like we could communicate – and two and a half years of different types of therapy, that two people would be much better at communicating and avoiding conflict.

Wouldn’t you?

Well. Apparently not. Apparently you get worse.

Our middle child, our son, finished high school this week. He still has exams to go, but it is another milestone passed. We had his leavers’ dinner on Thursday. I actually really enjoyed it. When our eldest finished, I endured that dinner. He has a bunch of great kids, talented kids, as classmates. They are a tight-knit group, as my final year at high school was, also. Interestingly, I felt a little more emotional about this one than I did his older sister, four years ago. I think it is about the fact that this means my full-on parenting years are drawing to a close. Next year I will have just one child left at home. And for half of the year, she will be on foreign exchange. The four head students all performed, the head girl, a self composed song, the other three a lovely little musical number – all awesome kids, academic, sporting and cultural stars. And damn nice humans with it. My boy’s year lost a delightful girl this year, just a couple of months ago, to a terrible car crash. The deputy head girl – a talented speaker and actress – made mention of her in her very eloquent, very entertaining, very hilarious speech. Our lips all wobbled badly. Then she recovered well and we all carried on. The speaker after her was the Dean of their year, a truly lovely woman, dedicated teacher and total mother hen – the kids have loved her. She delivered some motivational words, words for the kids to take forward with them. I loved them, and I recalled my own leavers’ dinner, and thought how there may well have been similar words delivered, but I can’t recall them. Youth, not only is it wasted on the young, but inspirational words often are, also! Amongst her beautiful words was a moment about how to treat others, with respect, and to respect yourself. Always. At least, that was the part that resonated most with me.

Of course.

Rog knew I had heard them, had no doubt reacted emotionally to them. I didn’t show anything on the outside, but inside I was dying. Did he acknowledge this when we got home? The next day?

Nope. Just bury your head in the sand and forget you heard/saw any of that. I know why. He is sick of my emotions after five and a half years of them. I don’t really blame him for that. But I brought it up this morning. We had no kids home, and I thought we could talk. I just said I was disappointed he didn’t acknowledge some great words, that he must have known would affect me, trigger me. He replied that he felt awful when hearing them, yes, he is an arsehole, but he can’t change what he did. I replied that I wasn’t asking him to do anything but say, “wow, Mrs W’s words were pretty great, they really affected me, I know they must have affected you.” He got a bit angry, saying that he hates bringing any of it up, because I am still so upset. I said I was mostly upset because after all this time, I am frustrated that it still hurts so much, but I can no longer talk about it often, as it is yesterday’s news, and I have made little progress, and he seems to ignore my feelings, hoping they don’t exist. He agreed, and said that he knows that I am constantly triggered and upset at “life” and that he knows that I have been far more damaged than he ever imagined I ever could be when he lost his mind and felt an affair would solve the problems he wouldn’t share with me. And he can’t fix it. He is a fixer. He then asked, “should we separate now?” I answered that I still don’t believe that will make my life better, and I feel we can mostly do a good job of getting on well enough to launch these teens. But that I always feel like my feelings are ignored. And I talked about lying, both to your face, and by omission, and how the whole of our time together I thought he was 100% honest, but he has lied throughout. He looked at me and said, “I don’t think I lied to your face, until the affair, when I discovered, to both my relief, and horror, that I am a damn good liar.” I didn’t go there, but I know he has lied to my face. Not often, not well, usually. But he lied about fucking a prostitute when I asked him, he talked it down to a drunken hand job. That was an outright lie. He lied by omission a whole lot more. I feel like I don’t know how to take anyone at their word anymore, and I can’t seem to take that much needed leap of faith, to start to trust humans again.

Staying together the way we have lately, as flatmates would be fine, but he still wants to be able to cuddle, to be close to me physically. I can’t. I can’t do that without some emotional support. I told him this. I can’t stay here, and be his “teddy bear” for the physical comfort he so desperately needs, without him providing emotional support for me.

He understood. Apologised.

We are just both so damn frustrated with this non-recovery.

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13 thoughts on “Exasperation

  1. Its difficult for both of you. Hugs, dear Paula. Lies remain, don’t they? Sigh

    • Yep, tempted. I am in this so deep, and just feel so frustrated that I have made zero progress in “moving forward” and away from the pain. Rog feels really sympathetic, but helpless. Just in the funk of feeling so trapped by my own brain and its inability to be kind to me! It really is the most painful and helpless feeling I have ever experienced. In the past I think I was a problem solver – I’d panic a little, then get over it, and solve the prob. I can’t solve this, my heart just refuses to heal. I just want to scream (there’s been more of these fucking tears today!)

    • I’m so sorry you are going through this. But you sound like a very strong woman and I’m sure you will be able to figure it out.

  2. What is it about this week? People who get it but decide to lash out inappropriately? It’s sad really. We cope with what we have to. They…stop coping and lash out. I know it well.

    BTW Paula I sent you an email.

  3. 5 years? I’m not even 5 weeks and I’m exhausted. It changes us though. I know I’ll never be the same.

    rac

    • Sorry to be a downer, racoro. It does abate a little, the shock makes you run on adrenaline for a long time, and you’re right, it is exhausting. I believe there are extenuating circumstances (ie my past) that have made this a longer period of suffering than many for me. I hope that you find peace a lot sooner – or a form of it. True acceptance takes a long time, and not one part of this process can be rushed, unfortunately. It runs along a very similar step system/timeline to those of grief. After all, we are grieving the life and relationship we had. It died. I mean really dead. It took me a long time to fully realise that I don’t want a new relationship with the guy that sits before me now, yes, he is a really lovely man, he cares, he is sorry , but the man I loved (or the man I thought he was) was incapable of being so cruel and selfish – it took over four years for that to happen, I thought we had this incredible, deep, true connection. The love that would conquer all. Then it is a slow rebuilding process, with them, or without. Hard work, but we are incredibly strong – far stronger than we imagined we had to be – loving and truly compassionate women. I find the hardest person to have compassion for is myself, and I know I need to be kinder to me 🙂

  4. I’m sorry. 😦 Sending strength vibes to you. 🙂

  5. The lies. They are what we are all struggling with. If only we could now believe what they say after all the lies. I have no reason to doubt now (except for the lengthy past of lies). How do we learn to trust again? How long does it take? After the shock of learning of the betrayals, I think the hardest part is realizing how long he has lied. I too am frustrated with this process. Hugs!

    • Lying is one of the things I grew up detesting, kit. We were one of those families where lying was quite possibly the worst crime. If we had done something wrong, and lied about it, and the lie was uncovered, watch out, that was when the heavy shit came down 😉 But if we confessed, we were treated with compassion. One of my mother’s sayings I remember was, “rather a thief than a liar be.” My father’s lies reiterated this to me. I didn’t know he was a liar until they split. His lies (about being gay, and acting on it – he didn’t know until the last five years of their marriage, and Mum found out just over a year before she kicked him out – with compassion, because it wasn’t his fault he was raised in a pretty basic, fundamentalist family, where such a thing had never presented itself to him. He was about 35 before he worked out why he felt “different”) made me all the more determined to live authentically, to never have secrets, and to never stand for them in others. Rog and I had a lot of discussions over the decades about this. We seemed to be on the same page. We agreed as we saw friends’ marriages crumble over infidelity to never do that to each other. I told him to tell me the truth, even if it hurt, because living a lie is so much more painful. He had been cheated on, and he seemed to be in total agreement. So when I asked direct questions, which I did in the last months of the affair – before that I had no idea, but the last month or two, while he was trying to end it, I started to get an uneasy feeling about them – I said, quite literally, “is there anything going on with you and Leanne that shouldn’t be? You seem extremely close, there is a lot of texting going on right in front of me, and you always seem to know exactly where she is – she travels a lot for work – you are not making a fool of me here, are you, because you know I trust you to tell me the truth, even if it hurts?” He looked me dead in the eye – this happened twice, gathered my into his arms and held me tightly, telling me absolutely not, I was a “silly” and that he loved me and only me, why would he even look at his multiple cheating ex, she was a vacuous, empty person.

      I believed every fucking word, like the world’s biggest chump. Never looked at phone records, never checked the mileage on his car (she lived three hours away) never did any snooping. He told me he wasn’t, and I took him at his word. Because that is how we had always been.

      Since the affair, we have both discovered that his father has told lies his entire life. Nothing earth shattering, no affairs, or secret children, nothing like that. But at eighty-four years of age, he has told lies, and still does, to cover his tracks, and to enable him to get the things he wants, in that totally passive aggressive way that people can. If he wants something done a certain way, he will lie to ensure it is done his way. Like saying that something isn’t available, when it is, but he wants a different thing (food, farm equipment, that kind of thing.) Rog has recognised this pattern, and is appalled, and thinks that maybe he has internalised this. That even though he didn’t consciously identify this until the last two years, he has “learned” that to get what you want, you lie – telling yourself that these are just little white lies, no one was getting hurt. He refuses to even tell “kind” white lies now, “does my bum look big in this?” “Ummm, yeah, it does a little, what about the green dress?” I don’t doubt he has learned to be truthful, but how does that line up with the guy who put my life at risk by fucking a whore (my “friend”) and giving me chlamydia and HPV-which-turned-into-CIN3-cervical-cancer-thankfully-now-under-control? I thought that guy was one of the most honest and caring men I had ever met. My friends often commented on his “authenticity” and our close bond. I was so proud of that guy.

  6. I think it was this posting that really made me hurt for you. And the comments even more. I was going to note that rog- not commenting on it because he knows you’re bothered, asking “should we separate now” after you really have been beating a dead horse- was quite passive aggressive (internal issues, so he self soothes with a vapid woman in a useless affair) … Buying a farm without you even knowing. And then you mention his dad is that way. He’s leaving, emotionally, even then, without pulling the trigger. and he acknowledges he fucked it all up. But.. Your life wasn’t perfect even then. He just won’t even do you the dignity of saying- nope, I’m not
    In bliss. And you and your relationship suffer the fallout from his passive aggressive ennui? Man oh man. I’m sure I’m displacing my feelings and it’s none of my business and you’re five years out so the anger phase is gone, but man oh man. I don’t think he’s the unicorn and poor rog and great rog. It might be even scarier to me that his affair if it wasn’t for… Getting adoration and recognition or living vicariously or whatever… It was for nothing and meant nothing… That’s even more cold. But you have touched that he was struggling and has done the counselling self flagellation thing to get through it. Again. I don’t really buy it but I’m watching too much “criminal minds” and not trusting anyone.

    • As this comment is from some time ago I had to re-read it to see the context. Yes. This was obviously one of the shit times. We all have a few. A lot. And I tend to write it out here on the blog. I agree with some of what you say here. I think we both have PA moments and I think on this occasion he was exhausted. We both have those times where we just throw our hands in the air and exhale, “what-the-fuck-ever!” I don’t think he is great Rog. Even before the affair. I adored him completely, but not as an idol, as a strong, loving, yet humanly flawed man. I just believed he was more self aware than he was. He really did get to a very dark place and “give up.” He has huge regrets he did that instead of talking. But in the state I was in at that time – tired, working too-long hours, trying to juggle kids, career and my disappointnent (I was admittedly a grumpy bitch as I worked through my feelings) let down and struggling with depression – he gave up. Arsehole. He gave up on me, on us.

      And he wishes he never had. Because now I am giving up. I need to for my sanity.

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