Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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Generational

Having a weekend with my baby girl.

As we drove to our destination, we were chatting. She was telling me a lot about her recent breakup from her longest term boyfriend.

Then, she asked about her uncle, my brother, who has been living with me for nearly a year. He lives in my barn loft. Trying to heal from his own broken heart.

Recently, he had a relapse, and stupidly ranted his brokenness at his ex. It was selfish, damaging, and uncool. Total grey rock fail.

An aside from my brief chat with my daughter. After this incident, he and I talked. I asked him how I can help him. That in my opinion, he needs more help, in the form of counselling. It’s been over two years, and whilst we know there is no timeline for healing, there kinda is for not going off on rants. For not contacting the source of the pain. You just HAVE to exercise some self restraint.

Back to the moment. Dee said, “please don’t tell me anymore. I don’t want to hear you talk about him anymore.”

I was kinda gobsmacked. Stunned into silence. She’d spent nearly an hour talking about her ex. I’d spent less than a minute, answering her question about her uncle.

I drove in silence. Quietly seething that she shut me down in such a seemingly selfish manner. But knowing to keep my mouth shut.

A few minutes later, she spoke up. “He was the last  man in my life, who I thought wasn’t trash.”

Ah, okay. I get it.

I remained quiet.

Then said, “surely not all men. You know nice men you work with/have worked with. Your brother. Your friends. You’ve just spent a nice weekend with your father.”

“Ha! You mean Rog. He’s trash. Just because he’s related to me, I see him. But he’s still a huge piece of trash.”

I looked at her sadly, “I’m sorry you feel that way. Maybe things will change with more time. But I understand. You saw a lot of awful things.

That’s on me.

I should have left the first time I knew he was a cheater. I don’t know if I’ll really ever forgive myself for believing him and putting you through that. Allowing you to witness all that hard. I’m sorry. I thought he was better than this. I thought we were worth more than he did. I should have left.”

We’re here. It’s quiet. Relaxing. Lovely. I love that we can do this.

But there is enormous guilt.

I honestly believed his words. His charm. His love bombing. When he told me I was the love of his life, it felt real. His eyes, his touch.

His fake remorse.

I thought it was safe to stay and try to heal WITH him.

You never fully forgive yourself. Not for the pain you allowed.

But I especially struggle with what my children witnessed. I failed them, as a parent. To protect them from what I experienced in my young adult life, and tried so hard to NEVER have my children affected this way.

My youngest doesn’t believe there are good men. That truly sucks.


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Silent

When I’m in pain, I go quiet. To the outside world. I use this blog to keep breathing. Outside of here, I am holding my breath.

BG noticed. He said I worry him sometimes.

Shit!

I know we are supposed to be partners. But I don’t want to long distance worry him. He has enough on his plate, and I can’t be held by him. Eight weeks. Of needing. But trying to suck it up. He asked me yesterday if I am okay. Had I forgotten him. No messages all day. I eventually replied that I felt fair to middling.

I have several friends, happily married, etc, who are really struggling this lockdown. In fact, I don’t know anyone who is coping very well. We are in Covid jail, for so few cases. All linked. All from known clusters, already isolating. With high vaccination rates, we still can’t get time off our sentence, for good behaviour.

We can’t get a damn haircut, or go to the dentist, because 2 people tested positive yesterday, in our region. I can’t drive the hour and a half, over the barbed wire wall of this prison, to get a hug from my boy. We can’t touch other people. My sweet married friends have no idea really, at my sensory deprivation. Not to say their struggles to deal with this are any less than mine. Just different. At least they have their beloveds with them. Roger would be super snuggly in this situation. He was so good at physical affection. He made me feel like the sexiest thing ever.

I think I portray a strong, confident exterior. But my silence gave me away yesterday. Ugh. BG started digging, asking me to talk to him. So, I replied with this.

I had no idea I’d done anything to make him worry. I mean, one very busy day at work, when I didn’t message him during the day. That enough to make someone worried for me? He has no idea of my permanent pain over the loss of my life with my previous love. I mean, he knows I got hurt. But not the extent of the damage.

I feel like I’m failing at life again. That Roger was right. I’m not good enough. That he left because of me.

Not him. Not his neediness. His brokenness. His inability to self soothe. He left me because I am not enough. I know you understand my meaning here. The depression is telling me very convincing lies.


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Grief. A Neverending Story.

https://wp.me/pbiNOL-Da

Thank you Don’t Lose Hope.

Grief never ends. We get better at incorporating it into our lives. We live.

I am forever changed. There is a deep part of me that is permanently sad and in a whole lot of pain. I’m weeping quietly as I type this, because it still aches so badly. The agony of loving someone who never loved you, despite everything you are, everything you did, everything you achieved, everything becomes this thing you couldn’t achieve. Your greatest failure.

My heart is forever broken.


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Forever

A high powered friend of mine, posted this to his wife this morning.

This lovely couple are early 60s, and have what I thought we had.

The real deal.

True love.

A lifetime of partnership.

I’m so happy for them.

But admit I struggle with my own personal feelings of failure. That we failed.

When I know I didn’t. He did.

It is still failure.

In my sick delirium last night, Roger came to me, scooped me up, and said, I’m back. Just like I promised I would be. (“One day we’ll find our way back to each other.”) 😡🤢 I’m sorry. I just needed to try another way. It wasn’t the right way. I’m sorry I hurt you again. I fucked up. Can you ever forgive me? I love you so much. And like I predicted, I never loved Trinket like I love you (“I can never have with her, what I’ve had with you.”)

In my delirium, I thought that was sweet!!! FFS. Thank God when I woke properly, I realised how fucked up that was!

Dream hoovering? What next!


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Slipping

I’m slipping.

Quite badly.

Into a pit.

I’m aware that full lockdown can be difficult on your own, but I’ve been on my own a lot over the years. When we had kids that needed supervision, Rog went out on his own a lot. He needs people. Is social. I’m more of and introverted extrovert. Happy on my own in general.

But the past two days I feel like utter shit.

I’m doing all I know to stay safe. Talking to friends. Gardening. Getting outside. Taking the dogs for walks. Cooking.

Work is terrible. I HATE my job in lockdown. My boss is a control freak, and won’t allow off site tunnels into our database. I’m trying to work out of Dropbox, and the version she has set up is not editable. Trying to breathe through it, accept what I can’t do or change. I had a huge cry on Tuesday about it. Just went for a walk sobbing, trying to shake it off.

And my constant feelings of deep heartbreak are intensified at this time. I recognise this is due to the other pressures. I lost my person. I can’t lean into him. And while I’m very fond of BG, he’s not that person. He doesn’t have lifetime history with me. Understand who I am. He isn’t able to offer the comfort I need. I know this about him. About me.

Besides. He chose to stay at his place. And to be totally honest, he could have come here. I had to be here. Animals. So, I know what his priorities are. Not me, obviously. I accept that. And it won’t be dismissed as I go forward in this life. If he doesn’t value me…

And it makes me reflect on how the hell deep, deep love turns into this? This disdain. This complete disregard Norm has for me.

I don’t get it.

But, I have seen this before.

We had friends who seemed very much in love, so much fun.

He cheated. She left. And she just hated him. So much. Her heart was completely shattered.

I always wondered how the hell you go from decades of love to complete loathing. Rog and I discussed this phenomena. How? Why? We would always be the best of friends. That could never happen to us. We agreed. Right?

But guess what? We have no contact whatsoever. I am still utterly heartbroken. I don’t get it. If there is ever a need to contact each other, he is incredibly grumpy with me. To the point that I have massive anxiety and panic attacks about that contact. It is searingly painful as well.

I read about what happens. How does intense, deep, passionate love become this painful, dysfunctional, traumatic mess?

From Good Therapy

“So what’s “falling out of love”? The answer is: betrayal. You have opened up your soul; you’ve been vulnerable, and what did you get for it? You got hurt and betrayed. The betrayal doesn’t have to be as raw as cheating, although it can be that. But even ignoring a spouse when he or she is talking is betrayal. When this continues, the commonalities aren’t so apparent. Your spouse might be hurt, too.

Now, just suppose the two of you want to maintain the marriage. Maybe you’ve been married a long time. You may have had children together. How in the world can you get back to opening yourself up to someone who has hurt you? How can you possibly fall in love with such a person again? You are torn because it would be good to keep the relationship but the feelings just aren’t there. What can you do?

My answer is: Feeling can come back, but the process is backwards from the way it was the first time.

The first time, you just opened yourself up and there it was. You can’t do that this time. Even if you really would like to, your survival instincts won’t let that happen, and you must honor those.

Sadly, Rog just replaced me. He doesn’t feel any love for me. He just wishes I would curl up and die. I will never understand what happened to him. Except that I do know he wasn’t/isn’t as deep as I thought he was. He never felt this unbreakable bond. So he easily moved onto the next warm body, never had to unpack any of it. Snap. That’s over. Good. Next.

I despair that I will ever truly heal from the utter heartbreak. I try so damn hard. And feel like I am failing so badly at this.


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Who failed?

I have really struggled – despite my knowledge that I was a dedicated, hard working, loving, supportive and loyal partner – with this feeling of utter failure. Sadly, my most important achievement in life at the stage of my first Dday, was a happy, successful relationship and three decent human beings, as children.

I’ve always rationally argued with myself that I didn’t fail. He did.

But I’ve always struggled with the fact that my relationship, which was the cornerstone of my life, the thing I worked hardest at, and valued most, failed because he kept choosing anyone-but-me.

You can’t help but feel some amount of failure.

And it’s so very wrong that someone else’s selfish, dangerous choices affect us this way.


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Outta the mouths of babes

My younger daughter – the one with quite pronounced anxiety – has recently started dating again.

She has met a nice guy in a city about an hour and a half’s drive from hers. He’s supposed to be transferring down south, but with the pandemic, who knows?

She’s keeping her expectations real, and aware not to get too invested, too fast. But they have started nicely, he seems just as keen as her, and is being a really nice guy so far.

The thing is, she asked me this question last night.

And man, did it sting.

“What if it happens to me, Mum? I mean it happened to Biddy (my Mum) and then you, decades in. You both picked cheaters. How the hell do I stop it? Is it genetic that we can’t see it?”

Deep breath. Fuck. I thought I had worked so hard not to pick a damn cheater. The fact that Roger had been cheated on made me feel he got it.

Yeah, right.

My reply was that you just have to do due diligence, and take note of any red flags as they pop up. Don’t be blinded by love bombing. Take your time. Communicate.

You see, I was DETERMINED not to marry a cheater. So, first step? Never marry. Second step, TELL the man. Do not cheat, I won’t stand for it, I’m not interested in liars or cheats.

The third step should have been, don’t move in together after knowing him just five weeks. And certainly not after he fucked his ex girlfriend two weeks earlier. Jesus, that was FUCKING DUMB, PAULA!!!🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️

And I now think, in most cases, don’t take them back after they cheat. They very rarely stop at one. And the ingrained first reaction, to lie, is never fully overcome. Even if they do heaps of work on themselves. It is their go to. Even the ones who convince you they will never hurt you deliberately again.

I read this Washington Post article about mothers and daughters who are cheated on.

According to clinical psychologist Ana Nogales, author of “Parents Who Cheat: How Children and Adults are Affected When Their Parents Are Unfaithful,” 80 percent of adults who witnessed infidelity as a child said their father’s cheating affected the way they feel about love and relationships and 70 percent said they believe it impacted their ability to trust others.

I felt a deep ache, missing my Mum so much. And hoping against hope that I never have to support any of my three children through the agony of their person breaking their heart in this way. It is barely survivable if you really love them very deeply.

I was feeding my stock this morning, and tears leaked out in the wind and rain. I can’t tell you how it feels to have failed in my biggest life mission. To never love a cheating man. To protect my children from that pain.

That doubt.

I have no doubt in my mind that her anxiety has links to her cheating father.

Of course, I don’t go there with her. This is her path.

Me suggesting such a thing would appear biased. I support, but this is her journey.

K.L. Rivera speaks of hers.

Years later, and after some therapy meant to put a finger on my anxiety, my therapist explained that my father’s cheating had a huge impact on my childhood, which of course I knew, but she surprised me when she linked his infidelity to my anxiety today.

I picked the wrong man, and I stayed and stayed and stayed, hoping against hope that the agony he witnessed, the cancer he caused, would convince him to love and protect me.

Dumb.

He never cared.

And he had the audacity to blame me for our “post separation relationship not being healthier.”

I have friends, who care for me. They don’t lie, cheat, steal my happiness or make me sick. I don’t need anything from him. He never loved me. He never tried to keep me safe.

I’m so damn hurt that I tried so damn hard not to love a cheater. And then, once I knew he was a cheater, to make him love me like I loved him.

Ugh. Freaking pick me dancing like a damn idiot.

And I fucking failed.

I didn’t know he preferred beige.

Leanne was/is/wears grey.

Trinket was/is beige.

And here I am over here in my peacock best!

Damn.

Obviously never what he wanted.

Anyway. It is what it is, just trying to negotiate how to best guide my babies to break this chain.


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Ah shit. Noooo!

So, having a bad week.

As you can see from recent posts.

And last night I fell into a despair pit. Knew I was. But tried to rationalise what it was, and why.

I realised I was having my first moment of heart sick, I miss him too much despair. That AWFUL pining feeling. The one I always had when Rog and I were apart.

Except this time it was BG.

DAMN!!! NOOOOOOO!

I don’t want to be this person this time around! Being this person got me broken, anguished, suicidal. I haven’t felt it in the previous almost ten months of being with him.

I was cool.

Accepting of the distance.

Keeping my boundaries wrapped tightly around me.

So why?

Why now?

WTF happened???

I was good alone. And if I repartnered, I wanted for the man to want me almost more than I wanted him. Being the one who is completely disposable/easily replaceable, is too damn scary!

I knew what was happening, and struggled through.

Thankfully this morning, friends helped me with my processing. Why can’t I control my emotional response? I’m not normally a hugely needy person. I mean, I love, love, love touch, snuggles, sharing some life stuff, and frankly, damn good sex. I am an intimacy monster. But I am also quite independent as a rule. Was happy with the way things are. The distance. Etc.

So why did I get quite desperately kinda…lovesick (ick ick ick)…this week? It’s not like I think BG is a soulmate, or any of that crap. We are enjoying each other, and yeah, it’s real. But the icky missing him waaaay too much part is not okay!

Alright?

Listen to me, feelings. Stop that shit!

CrazyKat is like my voice of reason. I totally love how her wisdom, love and words help me on this journey. She was able to get through to me, when I just couldn’t seem to. I knew I was beating myself up for being a dick. But she helped me forgive myself enough to let go of the anger and tightness at myself for being that pathetic dick!

Not pathetic. Don’t beat yourself up. Acknowledge, accept, and be kind to yourself. You are still grieving. There is no time frame on it. Just little reminders that what you feel is normal. No one has walked in your shoes. No one knows what you are feeling. Just try to live in the moment without punishing yourself. ❤️❤️❤️

Yeah.

That.

All that.

I find this the hardest part. Knowing to be kind to me in my grief. But then not being kind to me in my grief! Being told I am being unkind to me by an outsider really seems to help me reground myself in my healing.

Phew.

Thanks, CK. You are such a goddamn gem! She totally understands my grief process…

As you have said all along, it is like grieving for a dead person who is still alive.

Yeah. It really is. And honestly?I know there is no comparison, because loss is loss. But it feels so hard that I can’t remember him as the man I adore. Because that man never existed anywhere except in my imagination.

He was always weak when it came to romance, women, self soothing, being alone.

And ya know, twu wuv and all. Go Trinket! Can’t resist that twu wuv shit, eh?

I knew who he was, and how he was hard wired for female attention, having NEVER been alone. His whole life there has been a girlfriend or partner.

Seriously.

His. Whole. Life.

He met a girl on his first day in London on his OE, who became his girlfriend for the whole period he was there.

After leaving another girlfriend at home when he left…

There have been no single gaps. I even wonder now about me! I mean, he fucked his ex GF when we were three weeks into us.

So, literally overlaps all over.

He just has never, and can never be alone to process his shit. Has to have some warm body to snuggle. To fuck, to share with, to talk to. That was why he landed in Leanne. Because I was not available 24/7, like I had been up until that point.

Needy.

In contrast, I have had to do all of the healing work on my own. Because that really is the only way to get it done. No masking the pain with more adrenaline from the “love” of someone else.

The loving feelings are very addictive. I know, because they have started ramping my shit up a bit. I know missing BG is quite an unhealthy amount of medicating the other feelings of grief.

The problem is, I thought I was ready. Healed enough. To embark on something fun with someone new. But am recognising that I am in huge danger of repeating patterns that set me up to be abused by Rog. I can’t be the one needing “too much” attention. I have to keep concentrating on doing me. Being me. Fighting the addictive lovey dovey feelings that got me in so much trouble the first time! I can’t be that fucked up and vulnerable again. It will kill me!

Holy shit, it is UNBELIEVABLY painful, scary and utterly exhausting being this mindful and terrified.


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Safely installed

My brother arrived at my place late last night.

Via Dad’s. We sat and chatted for a while there.

He’s calmer. We hugged and laughed a little.

And we talked. He says he feels calmer now that he has left the city for a few days. Things have escalated, and both parties are extremely hurt and unfortunately, the kids have been hurt too.

I talked with him very calmly and quietly about the way forward. About taking the higher ground. He is a highly reactive character, recovering from a serious head injury (exacerbating his reactions, etc.)

We talked about calm. Reason. Mindfulness. Keeping his emotions in firm check. I explained grey rock to him and that he has done something that K will understandably use as ammunition. She is hurt and extremely defensive.

Dad quietly said, “C, listen to Paula, I saw her keep her dignity, so much so that that arsehole kissed her fully on the mouth, holding her tightly, telling her that, ‘one day they’d find their way back to each other,’ as he drove out of her life, leaving her to clean the vacant house they were leaving, all alone. She’s been a tower of strength, and so damn gracious.”

In public, Dad.

I was a mess. A complete mess. Dealing with cancer and heart disease (not to mention – and I didn’t – suicidal ideation!) I just had to keep going somehow. My children needed me. And they needed to see my strength, my character, my broken hearted resilience.

I’ve just opened a LOOOONG email from my sister-in-law. Desperately trying to tell us her side of the story. It is as I suspected, a case of he said, she said, and I have no doubt he did some triggering and stupid things. K’s father committed suicide when she was five, so C’s attempt was extremely triggering for her. Lots of anger, rage and downright awful behaviour has upset the kids.

There was physicality, he smashed their wedding photo. There were raised voices, there was a lot of anger and fear. I know her well enough to know she will (understandably) hang onto all of this, and the words were fighting ones.

This is going to get ugly.

He will need a lot of support to negotiate it all, to keep his eye on the prize.

Roger and I took C in when he was 18. He’d got in trouble with the law, and had been causing my mother serious concern and drama for some time. She had to Tough Love him. He couldn’t stay with her.

It utterly broke her heart. But I still believe she did the right thing, and that it was the making of him in many ways.

He came down and stayed on the farm with us and hit reset.

He’s been a pretty good kid since. Trained as a chef, travelled the world, met an English girl, got engaged. She broke his heart, had an affair, and left. C told me last night he is so pleased for her. That although it was incredibly painful, she is still with the man she left him for. His view is, she made the right choice for her, which is pretty generous. And he believed he met a better match for him in K.

He went to university for the first time in his late 30s and graduated with an 88% average over his entire Bachelor’s degree. He has dyslexia, but he’s smart. First time he believed that. He has a great career, a fantastic boss, and that part of his life is good.

K has always been very…strong. Including headstrong. If you don’t do things her way, then fuck off.

Don’t get me wrong, I love her, but we all saw how difficult that can be to live with. C has made his needs smaller and smaller and smaller. This rage is kind of just repressed anger from 16 years of her.

Anyway, not here to sling mud. They have been in trouble for a long time. Guiding him out of it without him blowing up in anger is going to be tough. He totally accepts what I said last night, that calm/higher road is the ONLY way forward now. Whether he can manage that is the big question.

C, my baby brother, a kind man at heart, looked at me and said, “wow sis. You look absolutely amazing. Younger every time I see you! You got through the shit and are shining now, so glad for you!”

If only he knew the heartache that remains. I did tell him it’s still there, and always will be. Including my feelings of failure, as such. I just couldn’t be lovable enough to stop him from cheating on me. That I know that is bullshit, but still feel that way inside.

I reflected on my own divorce. And how most of my despair came out in rivers of tears, deep sobs, lots of being curled in the foetal position, as Roger drove to his Trinket over and over and over.

The utter heartbreak.

The complete anguish as I watched him love another. The physical breaking of my heart as Trinket told me I “chose this, to stay with him” as they openly dated. Because, of course, as the incumbent partner of thirty years, mother of his children, washer of his underwear, accountant, cook, maid…I should have just graciously stepped aside. Instead of trying to just be reasonable, and wait his “moment of madness” out. Surely he’d wake up and realise it was me all along. Only me. He was the only man I wanted. The man I adored and truly loved. Surely that can’t have been just me???

But, it was. A one sided love story. I ACHE as I recall all I did, all I wished for, how deeply I love him, how deeply connected my heart is to his, even with the full and final knowledge that he just didn’t fucking care.

There is no love left for C. Or K. I can see that.

And they will get through this. It’s easier once the love dies. I see it in all my divorced friends. When love turns to either disdain or complete nonchalance.

I wish my (broken) heart acted normal!

Enough about me. C (and K) need support and calm to get sorted.


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Success

I got the chapter list from the editors today. We are Chapter Eight in this International Handbook of Gender and Feminist Geographies.

It feels weird.

But yeah. I’m proud. I worked really damn hard to achieve during both my undergrad and postgraduate degrees. And this chapter…

All with a completely shattered heart.

And today, a friend who lives overseas asked to see a picture of BG.

I obliged, sending her a photo of him, a winter shot of him on his beach.

Her reply was super cute. A fellow feminist, she made this comment about the youthful, good looking man who has waited for, then pursued me with humour and kindness,

Yeah.

And another friend – who met and liked Rog very much (he’s charming and very likeable, he really is) – reminded me of my journey, and who I am, chuffed for me with the book chapter. Through my intense, agonising pain. That pain comes from having loved very deeply, for a very, very long time.

These two, and several others here as well, have supported, empathised, emoted, stood strong beside me, lifting me up, keeping me from the rope, throughout this long post affair journey. And then shorter period of discard after my healing felt, if not complete (I don’t believe you ever heal completely from your love betraying you in the worst possible ways) definitely very manageable.

I was always sure that if I managed to actually survive the agony, the cancer, the literal broken heart, that once my (tear stained) wings dried out, I HAD TO fly.

Doing some practice flaps right here, right now.

Two years after he told me – showed me – that I wasn’t enough.