Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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No contact

I recall the long journey that ultimately culminated in me going no contact with my alcoholic, narcissistic brother.

I had absorbed decades of abuse from him.

All in the name of family loyalty. To honour my dead mother.

Once I decided, for sure, to go no contact, it got better.

I didn’t have to endure being called names, being put down, being used as a bank. Trying to be supportive to try to help him. I just said, no more. I can be civil if we need to be in the same place. But nothing more.

Tough love. I guess.

He has since had moments of begging to be in my life, always followed by verbal abuse when I don’t respond. Or in the one case where I did, to try to explain it was best for both of us, some very nasty, really immature name calling, trying to shame me into further contact. He’s used family members, friends, his partner…all to try to engage me. Guilt me into contact.

I have stayed stoic this time. It’s been years now. He was around a bit last year, as we dealt with our father’s ill health. We were civil. Until he wasn’t. Micromanaging me (the lead carer for the father.)

I have him blocked everywhere now. Opened communication via phone/text for that period. It was closed again when he abused me for leaving Dad at home one night for a couple of hours, him much recovered, curled up by the fire, with soup, toast and plenty of Wifi and TV access.

I blocked him again.

No contact is the most peaceful way of dealing with toxic people.

I read Don’t Lose Hope’s insightful post about trauma responses.

And whilst I didn’t fit the fawn response entirely (because I did ALL of them, fight, flight and freeze included) I did include a lot of fawning. A lot of puck me dancing. A lot of, look how fkn marvellous I am, Pick Me!!! It’s pathetic. I felt pathetic.

Last week, I looked back over my communications with Rog, during that period we lived together, while he was eating my cooking, wearing the clothes I bought and laundered for him, having sex with me, all while he was eating cake by doing the same with Trinket.

I was sweating reading the messages. Totally embarrassing. I knew I was being desperate and pathetic. But I was fawning all over him, hoping he’d wake up and see me! Ugh. I feel dirty even recalling it.

Shudder.

So not who I imagined I was! But I was desperate. Desperate to wait this whore out. Desperate not to lose “my man” whom I really, truly still loved completely, and all we had worked so hard together to achieve.

Desperate not to have “failed.”

My stomach is literally churning now, gutted at my needy grossness. The words I read – I can-but-can’t remember being that sad, sad, pathetic person. Your love leaving you for fresh meat does terrible things to your self esteem. To your values. It deconstructed my picture of who I am.

I am often asked if we are friends now. Now that our lives are divided. I’m told regularly that we were the couple that appeared to be such great mates. As well as very into each other.

Sadly, no.

No, we are not friends.

Neither will we ever be.

I have had to learn the hard way, friends don’t treat you like he did me. I was just collateral damage to his wants, needs, desires. He had to fuck me over to get to the wonderful Trinket. I have zero worth to him.

So why would I accept that in any friendship?

I don’t anymore.

I don’t accept it from the Switzerland friends. My abusive brother. Nor Roger, the man I still love, but know he doesn’t value me in any way whatsoever.

I got pushed too far.


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Real love

I need to remember this. I have tried to “unlove” him.

But I can’t. He’s carved into my heart. That love exists. Existed. Is real.

Even though he never loved me.

It’s a shitty way to find out. A shitty way to have wasted love. But I really am a genuine person, who loved him entirely.


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Why won’t s/he just get over it?!

Chump Lady addresses the narrative from the cheater. Why won’t my betrayed spouse just get over it?

Until the person you trust with your life shatters your heart and your world, you haven’t a clue.

About the PTSD. The dealing with the health fallout. About losing yourself. About the traumatic, nightly nightmares. About the loss of your world as you know it. About the battle with self harm and suicidal ideation. Home. Job. Friends. Peace. Joy. Security. Safety.

Your ability to trust anyone ever again.

Gone.

The reality is, the cheater thinks they made a booboo.

And now everything is okay again.

Right?

“I had no idea my wife cared so much about our lousy marriage! It means nothing to me and I thought I could just fuck strange and brag to her about it and she’d go back to cooking for me, raising our kids, and washing my shit stained underwear. But she isn’t functioning correctly now! I don’t want to have to get another wife appliance, how do I fix this one?”

That’s not how it works, dude.

Your spouse is now affected by your choices, your actions, your sharing of STIs, forever.

Forever.

Yes. Forever.

We do so much work on ourselves. We heal a bit.

But the effects are permanent.

I was told last week by one of our mutual friends – who nonetheless does see Roger for who he is. Does understand that he is a cheater and a liar – that she is so impressed by what I am building. How far I have come. Her: you have a better life now, Paula. You’ve shaped your own destiny. You have surrounded yourself with empowering, supportive, interesting, fun, educated friends. The (name of small hometown) detritus. You’ve shed that. All those small town entitled bores, you don’t have to deal with them anymore! Yay! Roger’s friends are still in the same mindset. He still operates the same way he always did. You, on the other hand, have completely reinvented yourself, keeping the parts of you that are unique and admirable, and shedding all the crap that came with being “someone’s wife. Someone’s small town mother.”

Yeah. I think I mostly have.

But it doesn’t mean I am healed.

Or am “over it.”

Because you never really recover fully. You just learn to live around the pain and reconfigure your life to cope.


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A Deal with God

I’ll get on that bandwagon. Kate Bush’s Running Up that Hill’s resurgence after the makers of Stranger Things used it, has been phenomenal.

And I am always intrigued by songwriters’ explanations of their lyrics.

I get it, Kate. I get it.

How amazing would it be to swap lives with another person?

I mean, it’s one thing to empathise, but to actually live as that person?

As your partner.

Seeing things from their perspective? I would love that. Love to experience exactly how Roger justified his actions, and his eventual devaluation and discard of me.

His walking away, never looking back.

At someone who adored him. How is that woman who loved me, who bore my children and supported me now that I kicked her to the curb?

Meh. Who cares? She is nothing.

When he was my everything. Ugh.

Kate herself, explains,

“It’s about a relationship between a man and a woman. They love each other very much, and the power of the relationship is something that gets in the way. It creates insecurities.

“It’s saying if the man could be the woman and the woman the man, if they could make a deal with God, to change places, that they’d understand what it’s like to be the other person and perhaps it would clear up misunderstandings. You know, all the little problems; there would be no problem.”

If I had known what he was thinking. I wouldn’t have been so blindsided. I would have been able to talk with him. To explain. To reason.

And if he could have truly got inside my head – if he had any heart – he would have seen both how completely devastated I was, but also, how my healing was progressing.

And most importantly, that I still actually really, truly loved him.


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It never goes away

I loved this passage. It is exactly how I feel. Describes it perfectly.

I feel the loss. The grief is in my bones. Roger was a part of me. Loving him was a part of my identity that I will never be able to lose.

And I will never love like that again.

I have learned not to. I’ve learned not to be too vulnerable.

I will carry my closed book close to my heart forever.

He, on the other hand, just doesn’t care.

He never loved me. Just used me.

And walked away, never looking back.

I’ll never understand that.


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Pining

Missing someone is always a bit shit. Stink being so far apart, and having not seen that barman for a while.

But nothing compared to how I pined for Rog when we were apart.

I can remember him coming back from a two week hunting trip, when our eldest was a toddler. He told me how the other boys were all so happy to “get away from the ball and chain.”

But not him. He missed me like crazy. Said it was physical pain.

I often wonder if he tells Trinket the same lies.

I still ache for him. Again, not this him. The him I thought he was.

The way I ached for him when I was in the UK, and he was off fucking the whole town. I mean, it was okay, we were separated. But I fucked no one. And ached for him, while we wrote to each other three times a week.

Ugh. He really made me believe we were destined for each other.

A fully grown, supposedly intelligent woman. FFS 🤦‍♀️


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All the hard

Had a really hard conversation with BG last night.

I had found he had “liked” an article about an ex on LinkedIn.

And somehow it didn’t feel right. Didn’t fit the story as I know it.

He rarely uses LinkedIn. They only dated for a few months, and I only heard that she was “needy” and it ended fairly badly. All about him being in her city when he knew she was busy, so didn’t contact her and she got seriously pissy, blah, blah, blah.

So, the “like” was only nine months ago.

Hmm.

Gut was screaming, “Paula! Remember all those red flags you ignored with Rog, because he would never cheat….wake up girl! This is a bit weird. Talk to him.”

Eff you, gut. I like burying my head in the sand!

So, I made myself call him last night. I also needed to communicate with him that I am missing our daily good morning texts.

As expected, he got on the front foot. Defensive. A bit loud and blustery. That is him. I know this now. So, disappointed, video chatting, I sat waiting for him to run out of steam.

And listen.

I quietly explained that it felt off. Asked if he is in touch with any other exes, other than the ones I know about. The mother of his adult stepchildren, and our now mutual friend, Colleen.

No. He said Chrissy (his “big love”) contacted him last year on his birthday. I knew that. He told me at the time. I saw no replies. I believe he didn’t respond. His actions have indicated he is not in touch with her.

But Rog had an exGF he apparently didn’t like.

Except to text multiple times a day. Oh and to fuck as often as they could manage to get together…

So, I am now the suspicious girl. Neat, eh???

I HATE IT SO MUCH!!!

But, the chat went well after his initial defensiveness. He understood why I had to ask. He was surprised, as he couldn’t recall liking the article. And said he thought I had stopped the good morning messages, so he stopped, not wanting to look the needy one.

I said to him that we are at the hard, meaty part of a relationship. When shit has got real. The honeymoon is over, and we are trying to work towards a way to be together. He said it worries him, as “all he has to bring to the relationship is earning power.” His decent salary. And he is trying to give that up, and reinvent himself. It’s risky. And scary as hell at nearly 57.

Of course, it isn’t all he has to bring. But I get what he meant.

I quietly explained that communication and trust – things we have been pretty good at – are more important now than ever. I am finding separation harder and harder.

So is he. He physically exhales when he sees me and has become quite mushy about me, something he held back for the first years.

But I can and will continue to do it, until we both get on our feet, securing our respective financial futures as best we can.

I told him that me asking him that question was extremely hard for me. He doesn’t know the old Paula. He’s only ever known the post apocalyptic version of me.

I used to be so chill.

I told him that.

He threw his head back and roared laughing, “you are sooo chill, babe. You must have been practically catatonic before!”

But I NEVER had to ask Roger, “why did you like your ex’s article,” like a whiny, jealous bitch.

Did I tell you how much I hate it???

There are other, personal things we talked about, too. I didn’t bring it up, he did.

I’ve shared before about our mismatched libidos.

I have kind of left that conversation for now. There are more important things. And I have assured him that the lack of sex is not a deal breaker. I love him for being a good, honest, fun human. Not for how he can make me writhe in bed!

I had one of those. He made me very sick.

He broke me.

He shattered my ability to trust people.

He stole my joy. My peace. My ability to sleep through the night.

My financial future is much harder since he left.

I think I can manage without constant, passionate, mind blowing sex, with this kind man. Doesn’t mean we can’t be more mindful of each other’s needs.

And I know he feels this, because he brought it up.

“I thought distance would make me hornier. Seeing you irregularly, it’s such a delight when we get together. But then I get all anxious. That I’m not pleasing you.”

So, performance anxiety. We all know about this. I never thought I would cause it, lol. Me. So intimidating! Lol.

I just said, “we’re okay babe. As long as we keep communicating. Keep being kind to one another. You have nothing to prove. It’s just me.”

He has struggled when I bring up hard stuff. He tends to catastrophise things. “Oh, you have a problem, that must mean you want to leave me!”

I spoke to that. After he wound himself up.

It’s not relationship ending, to talk about problems, or question things. We talk so as to try to prevent the relationship ending.

He has never had decent relationship last past four years. So he’s always assuming he does everything wrong. That it’s just a matter of time before I walk out on him.

And I continue to blog, to help me stay accountable to myself.

And to try to overcome my triggers, blocks, fears. To try to reinforce my recovery from abuse and trauma.

It’s important. To de-stigmatise the traumatic effects of infidelity. Of being thrown on the rubbish pile after giving yourself to another for decades.

Until he used me all up, believing I was worthless now.


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Wounds

I know Roger couldn’t deal with what he did to us.

Cheating for 18 months, with someone I considered a friend, really broke me.

I worked diligently to try to heal from that betrayal.

And he found an easy way out. Started fucking a suburban widow.

Mutual friends all say she is just his soft landing. She doesn’t challenge him, or bring any knowledge or spark to their life together.

They sound underwhelmed with my replacement.

But you would say that to a friend, right?