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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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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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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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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Traumatic birth

I was lucky with my birth stories, really.

However, I just read an article on traumatic birth, and I know that there is stuff that I gloss over.

Our first was born in the main base hospital in my region. An ambulance transfer, as my waters had broken prior to admittance to our local birthing unit, and I laboured through the night, requiring lots of pethidene for the pain (posterior presentation, spine on spine, so painful) and was only 2cm dilated 12 hours later. I vomited constantly. So was dehydrated and so drugged I couldn’t think straight. My birth plan was abandoned because I had no lucidity to remember it.

I was admitted via ambulance staff, alone, definitely not lucid, and scared.

Things went reasonably well. Lots of people in and out of the delivery room, I avoided the Caesarian I had been admitted for.

But was left with an enormous episiotomy to repair.

And yeah, that repair caused sexual problems for me for quite some time, probably up to two years, at least.

I couldn’t bear any pressure on the back of my vulva, so rear entry positions were an absolute nightmare for me. I had extreme pain if I needed to insert even a tampon. I thought I was sexually damaged for life. Only just over five years into being a sexually active person.

I now believe it may have been the scar tissue being reopened and repaired again, from the very messy rape injuries I had. I was stitched up then, from the gaping tears my rapist ripped into my genitalia. Maybe the cutting through that caused difficulties in the healing from the episiotomy?

And so, reading this, made me want to vomit.

And admit to myself that I did have some residual trauma from birthing. I have mostly told myself I was lucky. And I was. Three healthy, great kids. And nothing compared to some of the stories I have read!

You don’t hear much about birth trauma until you’ve experienced it yourself, then all of a sudden, women you’ve known for both minutes and years open up about the horrendous things that happened to them. Some are too terrified to have another child. Some have suffered crippling post-partum depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some can’t even use a tampon without experiencing a visceral reaction.

That tampon reference got me. Oh fuck. Yeah. That made me tear up, and the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck stood on end.

And people wonder why I wanted home births. I had the second and third at home, without the trauma. I am not advocating this for everyone, but it was what I needed, and I’m so grateful I did, as I think those birth stories were healing for me. I never required another drug, nor vaginal stitch, birthing at home. I had PND after the first, but never again, after my home births.

And then my blood ran cold, thinking about the terror I had about large penises.

And how I nearly passed out in fear, seeing BG naked and aroused for the first time. The very strong urge to literally jump out the window.

When you put the pieces of the puzzle together, you start to see the patterns so much more clearly. The veins of trauma that run through my life.


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Emotional

Truth.

Emotional pain is embodied.

I’ve never felt more intense physical pain than this emotional pain.

I just had a series of very bizarre dreams. But the weirdest one was at the end. More hyper real than the previous bizarre ones.

Trinket floated in (yes, like a ghost) and apologised for all the pain she has caused me.

Said she was ashamed of believing Roger. That slowly, his lies were revealed. That she recalled me saying we were not separated, that I was shocked and appalled at what he was doing with her, when I still loved him. That his love bombing of her blinded her to his lies, made her think I was the liar. She “forgot” what I told her, the pain in my eyes…

And my mind flashed back to the searing pain of reading a text he sent me, meant for her 🗡🔪🗡🔪

I felt a sense of calm. Of healing. And it was briefly soothing.

Strange thing to dream about after the dreams that preceded, about shootings, paranormal happenings, and supernatural creepiness.

I woke, prickling with sweat.

I wish the nightmares would end. So sick of them.


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The jitters

Ah fuck.

Just had an awful morning.

Bad jitters.

I haven’t had this with BG.

I had a really good meeting with the franchisors, finalising the floor layout and electrical plan for my new clinic. Being in at the building stage is such a bonus.

Then, I fed some hay to my in calf heifers, fed the chooks, brought firewood in and lit the fire. It’s nice to take the chill off the house in winter if you are home all day.

I had an appointment in about an hour, so started scrolling online to pass time.

And found BG on LinkedIn.

And this is the thing that overturned my morning. It’s not like me, but my gut reaction is indicating something.

He had liked an article on the woman (or one of them???) he was seeing between his “big love” Chrissy, and me.

Now. He hasn’t ever told me her name. We have barely touched on her, but when we did he was a bit dismissive, saying she was really needy.

Remember, I found an unused phone of his a while back, and saw some conversations between them. She called him Handsome.

Something I have avoided because of this.

And the messages didn’t tell me a lot. Or raise any red flags.

Except they did solidify her name and what she does for a living.

He has never shared anything about her other than the “a bit needy, we were pretty brief and not compatible really,” comments.

Anyway, I was pretty shocked to see he “liked” the article on LinkedIn, focusing solely on her.

Not that he liked it. But the timing and context.

He rarely uses LinkedIn.

And this “like” was from nine months ago.

My stomach hurts.

Before I was cheated on, this wouldn’t do anything to me.

But, I’m pretty churned up about this.

Is he still in touch? (Roger used ex girlfriends as APs…)

Why would he follow someone he dated for a few months, and split up with because she was “a bit needy,” years later? And why stalk/like her article when he is supposedly with me?

I actually want to vomit.

This is so foreign to me.

And yeah.

I know.

I have to talk about this with him. Ugh.

We aren’t seeing each other this weekend. So I’m going to have to wait. And this is going to eat me alive.

Why did I think I could be in another relationship?

I loathe this stuff. The doubt. The mistrust. Then “having to” believe any explanation.

I mean, I know.

Trust, then verify.

It’s so shitty.


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Forgive. Forget

Wow! Yes!

Roger painted me as unforgiving.

The reality was, he wouldn’t do what I needed, to make me feel safe.

I asked him to please change his phone number. He argued it was best to keep it, as then he could “manage” Leanne’s apparent crazy.

This left me in a constant panic. That they were still playing me.

And yeah, well, after all his assurances that he was done, he went and fucked her again, two years after “he was done.”

He never tried to work out why he did it. Who he is and why. He never bought a single book, read a single article, or booked a single counselling appointment.

Oh, not true. He booked a psychologist. For ME!

Because I was the problem. My reaction to his actions. That was a problem for him.

Secrets are his stock in trade.

When I finally discovered Trinket, I started digging again.

Marriage fucking policing AGAIN!

And I got as far as online dating profiles on three different platforms (technophobe, riiiiight) going back at least two years. I gave up digging after that. No doubt it went on much further back. I honestly had no clue about this behaviour. Why would I, when he kept telling me he wanted only me, kept touching me, holding me, “loving” me, and “only” me. I was the only woman who got him, the only woman FOR him. He’d never have with anyone else what he had with me….

Sigh.

Played.

By a fucking maestro.

But, my gut knew. I knew not to let my guard down. I knew deep down what he was capable of. I wasn’t fully conscious of my own intuition, but I struggled with forgetting. I could and did, forgive … enough. Not complete “forgiveness.” Deliberately breaking the person who adores you’s heart is actually quite literally the definition of unforgivable.

Deceit. That was always him. While stroking you softly, he would plunge the knife in.

So, I was made to feel not good enough.

Not a good enough forgiver.

Despite staying (and he knew my stance on cheating) and busting my arse to heal us, from what he did. Despite all the time taken and paid for, in therapy. Despite four years of cramming in two degrees (to help me understand human behaviour, and to try to rebuild some absolutely shattered self esteem) whilst working, raising kids and running the accounts for our farm.

He did it again.

Sadly, proving all my intuition to be spot on.

He didn’t change.

He just got even better at hiding his duplicity. Better at the soul rape. Better at fooling me that he was only having sex with me. Better at getting non-consensual sex, because I never consented to share my body with others, to expose myself to the diseases I now carry in my body, because he shared his with others.

But, I still feel “not good enough.” Even with all of this knowledge.

That’s the terrible scar left by a cheater, on a loyal, loving partner. It never fades. You just learn to dress to hide it better.


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Pick me!

Winning the pick me dance is generally the aim during the immediate aftermath of discovering your life partner, the love of your life (cough) has been cheating on you.

Although, many are far better than me, and walk away straight away.

With dignity.

And strength.

But then there are those of us who are pretty pathetic, and “try harder.”

I’m ashamed of who I was then. I just loved him so much, and was convinced he loved me, but had just “made a mistake.” He sounded so remorseful. I felt really sorry for him. He’d made such a terrible mess of things.

Poor sausage.

Ha!!!

The mistake was his AP telling me about their affair. Not the actual fucking her part.

I always imagined I would leave a cheater.

Immediately.

That was some serious disrespect, and a faithful, loving partner deserves better.

But I stayed. What???

And danced as pretty as I could! I had “friends” tell me I wasn’t sexual enough (despite a very fulfilling sex life, and that “friend” being a cheater in her first marriage, and having little sex in her second…hmmm.)

And I upped the ante.

It wasn’t hard. Hysterical bonding was immense for me. I really did love and desire him. I couldn’t keep my hands off him. I tried to prove how wonderful I was, in so many other ways, as well.

Ugh.

How degrading.

I know that the scenario in the linked story will never happen to me. Roger is disgusted by me. Disgusted I stayed, degrading myself. It was humiliating. For sure. Begging him to “pick me,” over the other two whores.

But, it did make me snigger, reading it.

I often wonder if he learned anything throughout this whole caper. He insisted he never wanted to “be alone.”

So, what would happen if Trinket tired of him? Or he her? If he tired of her, I am fairly sure he’d just start up with the online dating again, securing new supply before dumping her.

But if she dumped him, and he was still wanting to be with her?

That intrigues me.

After all, he’d never wanted to live in the region he does. He only moved there because she wouldn’t move to where he had sent me to look, for a new venture/life for us.

I was tidying up my Google files today, and came across all the saved real estate information from that time. Lifestyle properties and businesses. The dates they were saved to my Google drive totally made my stomach hurt! He was already seeing Trinket. And I didn’t know. I thought we were considering a move together. But when I returned, having done early research, he told me about her, and that he was going to take her there, not me!

I looked at him like 🤦‍♂️😲😳

I deleted the files.

Better sleep, the coughing fits are less, and I’ve eaten my first solid food all week, tonight. I’m fighting fit!

Lol.

Or I will be, if I finally manage some sleep…


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Pretending

Sick. Tired. Overwhelmed. Burnt out.

I am usually okay at pretending everything is going well.

It’s the lack of resilience that has got to me since my long term partner’s affair with a supposed friend.

I don’t bounce back the way I used to. And that is partially because i’m emotionally exhausted. It’s tiring pretending. Tiring smiling when you feel like crap. Tiring taking care of other people’s feelings.

Resting. Coughing my lungs out.

But still grateful.

For paid sick leave.

For beautiful surroundings.

For a warm fire.

For snuggly doggos.