Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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He’s funny AF!

BG asked my permission to go to an Old Boys’ gig next weekend, earlier today.

When I was able to breathe again after laughing so hard, I replied.

I can’t get used to this stuff. Rog never “asked permission.”

And we are adults. Having a conversation is good, but most often I was just told, as he walked out the door. Made it really easy to cheat, that’s for sure.

So it is so funny to me, that BG checks in this way. A man who has rarely been partnered. He thinks those are the rules!

Much as I laugh, it is nice to be considered. Novel, in fact. And I know he is very thoughtful and mostly really careful with my heart.

Just had to share my giggle.


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Misunderstandings…

…And the power of communication.

I was really feeling quite despondent last night. I thought BG was being negative, handing me a shopping list of things to check/things that were wrong regarding the new building lease.

We managed a really good talk this morning. He did back off last night, seeing my face fall. I know I have to do due diligence yet. Was just excited at this good possibility. He’d had a late afternoon flurry of demands from staff, just the usual problems, but in a barrage. All at once.

I could see him pacing around the club when I arrived, looking most agitated. And he was stressed about a function we had to attend as sponsors…so I went over to be with him, all high with fear and excitement, expecting to be lavished with praise, support and love. Getting instead, don’t pay for that, check this term, what about….??? was a big letdown.

I went to bed before him. He stayed up watching sport, when I needed a cuddle. But was not going to be needy girl.

He snored and fought some huge verbal battles during the night, and I shifted to the couch. He woke up all concerned. I had pretty much convinced myself that I needed to end things with him. He sat naked with me, asking if I was okay.

I said, “I’m really worried about us.”

“Why? What have I done? I’m sorry.”

I struggled to get the words out. But gently explained that I felt pretty concerned that he was riding roughshod all over my accomplishments, and I’d been here before, and it felt unhealthy. He said, “I know. I’m sorry. I messed up. I realised it, and tried to back pedal but it was too late. Please don’t paint me with the same brush as him. I do care. I am proud of you. I was in a bad headspace, and didn’t realise you came to celebrate. I’m a dick and I apologise.”

I replied that I know he isn’t Roger, but my guard is up waaaay high about this stuff. Some green flags seemed to be turning red!

And he admitted for the first time to a small amount of disappointment/resentment that I am opening this business alone. We had talked about joint ventures…I asked him about his feelings before I signed up. He was positive and encouraging. And he owns his lack of commitment to doing anything new. His fear of failure is a big driving force with him. I worked that out a few years ago. I felt if I waited for him, we’d still be waiting.

Anyway, long, good, real conversation. Which inevitably turned to sex. He always worries he’s going to lose me over this. I just homestly told him, if everything else is good, I can manage. But it does mean when we are struggling, the thoughts about my higher drive always ramp up.

Ultimately, he talked again about how unhealthy his relationship with sex is. It was a thing you did, working in hospitality, after a few drinks, and a stupid gane of pursuit. It isn’t a deeply intimate thing for him. He shows intimacy in other physical ways. I know this. I know that I’m “too good/nice” to fuck good and hard, or even seduce slowly, devouring each other. He’s never equated sex with love. It’s been Wham! Bam! Thank you Ma’am. Loads of one night stands and drunken hook-ups. No need to learn skills, understand where all the buttons on the console are, just a lot of point and shoot! Lol.

I’m the opposite. Probably demi-sexual. I need love to feel deeply sensual and wantonly sexy. And the closer I feel to you, the hornier I get.

It’s a giant challenge!

But. This was an exceptional talk. We discussed mental health, sex, hopes, dreams, expectations, what does supportive look like/feel like. I told him how hard I am finding it to talk candidly with him. Not because of him, but because I am struggling to identify and name my feelings sometimes. And top of my list is always that I don’t ever want to hurt him.

He did have one frustrated moment where he said about my past, “sometimes I feel from all of this unsaid stuff, the way you go quiet and withdraw, that you are never going to get over him.”

That took my breath away (what little I have, with this pneumonia!) My first instinct was to defend myself. Shout, no! That’s not true!

Instead. I shut my mouth. After a few minutes, I said, “there’s some truth there. I don’t think you do ever “get over” this stuff. But I know he’s not who I loved, and I also know I love you. It has left deep, painful scars. Sometimes the trauma is briefly visible, I’m sorry, I try to tuck it away quickly, out of view.” And I liked his reply.

“Yes babe. I see those moments. When you withdraw. And I’m sorry you have that. I also know my own damage. I just bluff my way through that, and yours is more painful. It silences you. Like sharp pain makes you suck in your breath. I hate when I feel like I triggered it by doing something wrong.”

Oh fuck. He he gets it. Because he’s felt it. He told me he gets really anxious about this stuff, because Chrissy said she loved him all the time, and then she was gone. No discussion. No warning. No honesty. He’s scared I will lie to him, too.

I tell you, trying to do this in your 50s is fucking insane!

So much baggage.

But, I do like how open he is to me. He’ll answer anything. He tells me the warts and all stuff of his past. He’s kind, caring and loving about my crap. He wants to make this work, and he knows that takes effort, it doesn’t just happen.

And, bonus. Great sex after all of that! Initiated cautiously by him. But strongly encouraged by me! See? Connection makes it BETTER! 😜

I’ve done a pile of homework. Opening a new business bank account. Downloading manuals and checklists. Filling in what I can in spreadsheets. The sun is finally out. The dogs are on the furniture, in the sun.

Whaaaat? Get off the ottoman, big dog! I am curled up, about to have a nap. Tomorrow it is revised budgets and business plan. Making a bank appointment. Writing my resignation letter…

BG just phoned. A bit upset. He was planning on coming over. Instead, at my insistence, he rang Andy, one of his best mates. He’d called earlier in the week and BG was a bit busy. Glad he called him. Turns out, his business is in trouble. He’s downsizing, restructuring. It means they will have to sell their stunning home and land up the coast with the elevated, 180° views. When he called, he and his wife were over in the nearby town, looking at smaller houses. He was asking if I’d mind if he went to Andy’s. Lol. Mind? Bloody hell mate. Get your arse up to your friend’s place! Beer and mate therapy required!

More Nana napping for me. Time to chill, rest, try to recover.


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Bruises

I got a migraine late in the afternoon at work, yesterday. So frustrating as my girls are here, and were planning on making me a wonderful dinner and cocktails.

Instead, I came home and lay on the couch, planning on trying to sleep it off.

I didn’t sleep. My thoughts swirling about the day my boss saw I was wearing long sleeves and a high neck, at the height of summer and took me aside, questioning me gently. “Has something happened?”

She knew what I was going through. She had been engaged to a cheater. She told me years earlier that it made her crazy. She would drive by his house, late at night, stalking him, etc. She knows the mindfuck.

That day was after Roger ripped my dressing gown off my emaciated body, and I was knocked unconscious briefly, on the bathroom floor.

All because I called him on his lie. About having Trinket stay the night in my home. When I had issued a legal letter stating that she could not set foot on my properties.

The clothing was to cover the bruising.

She insisted on photographing the bruising to document the abuse. I found the file yesterday and choked back tears. She wanted me to press charges. But I was traumatised, shaking like a leaf, terrified.

I am shocked. Shocked I let him scare me, hurt me like that. And related to this comment about safety. “Home.” (Hell, I wrote a Masters thesis on this topic!)

“I just happened upon the final scene of the final episode of Outlander after having been on hiatus from watching since DDay OCT 2017. Jamie and Claire are lying in bed at night during a thunderstorm. He rescued Claire from her kidnappers and she is visibly covered with bruises. He asks her how she feels and she says, “Safe.”

I realized that is all I have ever wanted in a relationship and something I never had, and could never have, with someone who
lies and cheats.

I also realized I am covered with bruises, from my former husband, but they are invisible.

Yes.

The far more damaging bruises have been the invisible ones.

Those physical ones were nothing. I think that was part of my psyche in being unwilling to press charges. Like, hey, so I’m black and blue, but take a look at my heart!

I only want to feel safe. I’ve been seeking safety my whole life.

After my childhood “home” inploded.

After I was raped by a “friend” in my home.

After my “friend” fucked my love for a year and a half in my homes, sometimes while our children were also there.

After I was diagnosed with STIs after only ever sleeping with my darling, forever.

After he cheated again.

Trinket, and all the other online dating hook-ups over that two year (give or take) period he was secretly shopping for my replacement, as I worked my brain off, studying. Trying to heal from his treachery. Thinking he’d possibly had a character transplant and a douche tuck…

After all, going back to an cheating ex is like vomiting and eating it back up.

I think I always felt that. During those years we were trying to fix what he broke.

Trying to find how home could ever be “safe” again after his taint. After he broke me.

After we lived in homes that his family believed they were entitled to, that I was the interloper in.

After he moved me to a home that ultimately was our downfall. That I NEVER felt safe in.

My home here is the first “safe” home I have had in my entire adult life.


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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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Undone

It doesn’t take much for me to come undone these days.

I know.

It’s kinda pathetic, and I hate it. Bloody empathy! Fuck that shit! 🤣

But, Jen Hatmaker‘s Instagram post got me this morning.

All loved up with new love, wanting people to share their love stories.

I started scrolling. A few uplifting mother’s love stories.

But mostly, stories of long marriages ending, and voila! The love of their life shows up in the form of this fabulous, new, better love.

And I started searching my brain. Willing this to be my story, too. Because I have this truly lovely man who really loves me.

But I don’t feel like he is my saviour, or the love of my life.

I was happy to remain single forever, so I didn’t need him. I was so reluctant to be in another relationship, I ghosted him. I had choice. I could walk away, anytime, but I choose to have him in my life.

And this “not love of my life” stuff feels terrible. We are so lucky. I do love him. He’s really great. Kind, funny, sexy.

And human. Not perfect. No one is.

But, it’s not the same. He isn’t my “soulmate.” He is fabulous, and wonderful, and funny, and loving, and I feel treasured, loved and love him back.

Rog – the old Rog, my bear, NOT the lying, serial cheating one (so probably not even ever a real person) – was the “love of my life.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not holding out, hoping I can get that level again. I know it had to have been some total bullshit.

But I do feel … I dunno … yucky? That the damage of this terribly traumatic journey has scarred me so badly.

And I had to stop reading the comments because it started aching something awful. That longing for something I once had, but was unable to hang onto. That I can’t seem to recreate, or replicate, or replace that.

Even with the wonderful love I have now.

I’ll never know why he hated me this much. I know that. And I know I don’t need to know. That no matter what he could possibly tell me, it will never change this feeling.


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The fourth year

We are at friends up the peninsula.

A lovely dinner out, drinks and shooting pool afterwards. The boys jumped in the spa pool late, I went to bed, snuggled down and tried to sleep.

This is such a great life. I am so damn lucky.

Yesterday, BG drove an elderly man to the neighbouring town, so he could catch the bus to visit family. He does this. Random acts of kindness. Looking out for those who need some assistance. During our lockdowns, he organised a community check in system, for some vulnerable people. Once we moved to level 3, he had the club’s kitchen make meals for those who may need them. Vacuum packed and contactless pick up or delivery. It is a part of his charm!

Anyway, I had a quieter day, just some stock work, some small DIY tasks to address, and a trip to the city, to pick up some pre-ordered door hardware and drop some boots of BG’s off, to re-sole.

He messaged. “Lunch at the FR? 1.30?”

A gorgeous wee restaurant, set in a small forest, on my way to his place. I went straight over after driving past the building site where my business is going to be, to check on progress.

So, that was a lovely start to the weekend.

Home to his. Then he packed a bag, and we headed up here.

On the way, he was chatty.

His work is – as always – very stressful. Not enough staff. It is concerning him. One young, valued member, was hospitalised yesterday. She has some ongoing chronic health condition. And it’s awful to hear she is sick again.

But, another one out sick as well, it puts a lot of pressure on the under-resourced team. He constantly worries the good staff will leave, if they are not supported by the rest of the team. If they don’t get decent time off, etc.

This talk always leads to “I should just resign, come live with you.”

Then he said,”but only if you still want me.”

Hmmm. This gets old. “Why would I be sitting in your car, if I don’t want to be with you, darling?”

Then, some of his well guarded vulnerability slipped out. Something I hadn’t considered.

“Well, because it’s year four. It always goes pear-shaped in year four. My work obsession, the negativity, that’s what happens.”

I smiled at him. “Then don’t let it. Let’s not do that. Let’s choose differently.

And what’s ‘always?’ You mean once.

Chrissy.

Chrissy left around the four year mark. Who else?”

No one. I knew that. But I got, “maybe Colleen?”

I replied, “no, nowhere near four years. And she didn’t leave you. You both decided that you are better friends (internally my brain repeated, friends-with-benefits) than being in a relationship with each other. So that doesn’t count. Who else?”

The truth is, other than Linda, who is the mother of the kids – now adults – he still cares about, and financially and emotionally is still there for, no one was four years. Linda was over a decade. But they were off and on. They never lived together. He really only kept a connection with her because he cared about her and the kids struggling. He was honest with her. He never loved her. He cared about them all, as they were vulnerable. Under-educated single mum, a drug addicted ex, two vulnerable kids living in a town with big social problems. He tried to protect them, provide a buffer, and some kind of stability, without over promising to her.

So. Four years. This is the scary fourth year.

That he has constructed a weird discourse about.

I thought he’d been a bit weird since our anniversary.

It makes sense now. He’s nervous. He has rarely had a relationship come this far. He’s never had a joint bank account. He’s never worked towards moving to a partner, moving in with her. Instead of her moving to, and in with him. He’s only once considered changing careers/jobs for a woman, and it never happened anyway.

He’s in that nervous waiting room. He’s been sitting on 99 not out, ever since, almost too scared to play a shot. All of the shots played are defensive.

What am I going to do with him?! 🤣

I just held his hand, and said, “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. We’ll talk again when we get to thirty years, and you are leaving me for another woman.” Winked at him and in return he flashed his dimples and rolled his eyes, “fuck, thirty years, I’ll be dead and buried by then!”

We all have our shit. Sometimes, it seeps over the edge of the pretty box we built to try to contain it. The stench of that shit can upend the rest of the pretty stuff you have worked to surround it with.

If you let it.


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Unhealed trauma

Wow!

I mean, yeah, of course, but, wow!

I don’t think I had “childhood” trauma, but definitely was more deeply affected than I admitted/knew by my parents’ shock divorce, obviously by the vicious, tearing rape by my friend’s friend, and yeah, also about my first attempts at making love with the first boy I loved. Where it 🍆 just didn’t fit! 🤦‍♀️. We tried, off and on, for a very long time.

I thought I was broken. Not capable of being penetrated. This is where my deep and very real fear of large penises kicked in.

I know it sounds like a joke.

But I was TERRIFIED of meeting someone with a big dick.

And guess what?

Yup.

The day BG took his pants off, aroused already, holy, holy fuck! 😱

I froze. I actually nearly ran from the room.

I did tell him, when we started making love, to be slow and gentle, as his is a LOT bigger than the only penis I had ever had inside me.

To be honest, I’m sure that is what every man probably wants to hear, but he looked a bit coy, and was amazingly careful.

To start with 😜

I also thought maybe I was overstating it in my mind. Maybe he was “normal” sized. But he has length AND girth. It was quite shocking.

Months later, probably a year, I discovered he had a reputation about his size, amongst his friends. A couple of the wives siddled up to me, to ask.

If the legend was true!

Jesus. What???

Not even sure how you answer that!

Of course, this was not asked sober. I just winked and smiled, knowingly. Then Ingrid, who asked first, told me that it was legendary amongst this crew.

When I later relayed the story to BG, he shook his head, and was really embarrassed. Told me about the incident, in his teens, with a girl in his Catholic boarding school dorm. And getting caught by one of his mates. Who is still a close mate to this day. Good lord.

Literally!

As he intimated, it made it seem more. Like, “The Legend,” is larger than the reality. (Pardon the pun.) And yeah, I can see it is dehumanising. Objectifying. It embarrases him.

But, it was genuinely a terrifying night. In a good, consenting way. Still a really difficult thing for me. In my 50s, one lover ever, whom I was totally, madly in love with. Then this very real fear of mine, materialising!

Back to the other points, though. I definitely tick all of those items on that unhealed trauma list. I would like to add that it wasn’t really a difficulty setting boundaries – although, my uber chill chick vibe might be (correctly?) read this way – I think it became more about difficulty policing them.

When I insisted after Leanne that he change his phone number (it was before I even knew you could block) to starve her of oxygen, when she kept covertly (by connection) threatening us, and our children, and overtly saying she was bringing her mother to meet with my inlaws, to let them know they were destined to be together, that scared the SHIT out of me.

Cut her off! Cut her access to us off!

Rog insisted that he needed to keep his number, to “manage” the bunny boiler.

Hmmm.

Also helped his need for ego kibbles, right? Not only was he continuing to get her attention, he fashioned himself as my great hero and protector by “cutting her off at the pass.”

Also made it REALLY easy to fuck her again, two years after he had “ended it.”

Riiiiiight. Good job on the boundary enforcement, Paula.

My problem is, I have no desire to be the Marriage Police. What a shit job that was.

So I “believed” him, let it slide.

I also hate that I was unable to see that his refusal to read about affair recovery, or get counselling was another violation of my boundaries.

I have lived in a state of high anxiety for 12 years now. I wasn’t that person before Leanne. Before I knew I am a chump. I used to be a far different person than I am today. I felt safe, connected, confident. I didn’t feel the need for much external validation.

I feel none of those things anymore. And yeah, am more socially “needy.” I’m aware of it, and work hard at dismantling the narrative of “not good enough” that now feeds my social anxiety.

That said, I am anxious about today. Anxious about re-entering my home town. The possibility of facing him yet again. Knowing he also has another horse racing in this region tomorrow. It’s likely he’ll be there. And surely the cunt will be, too. I preferred when I didn’t know much about these horses, and his current life.

No contact is the biggest tool for healing from relationship trauma.

I’ve been no contact with my former friend, of at the time, over thirty years, Leanne, for 12 years. It’s good.

It still blows my mind. This darling man, whom I loved and trusted completely, for decades (at least until he broke that unwavering trust, the love was still there) whose body I craved, and snuggled up with, at every chance, whose babies I conceived in deep love, gestated, and birthed with him, is someone I must avoid now. It’s super fucking crazy.

It still messes with me. I know it’s because I still love the “old” Rog. The illusion. So I don’t want to see the new one. Especially not with his whore. My mental health is too precious. Too hard fought for.

I know he doesn’t get it. He never had to fight for life, like I did. He never had to suffer, being rejected and discarded. He had several women clambering for his attention. He. Just. Doesn’t. Understand

Or really?

He just just care.

Better go shift my heifers, give Sunny, number 7, a big hug and scratch. Always helps ground me when I need it.

Thank God for animals, huh?

Sunny. She’ll be hungry…


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Kiddos

Dinner with my little (23 year old!) girl last night. Delayed Mothers’ Day catch up. She had delivered boutique gin and gorgeous earrings on Sunday. From them all. I just cooked a chook, roasties and a rocket salad.

We talked. She’s having a rough time the last few days. An overthinking, anxiety suffering woman, we talk a lot. I try to ensure I just listen, only offering advice if invited.

Definitely jaded. Definitely affected by our split. Quite despondent about men, in general. I try to encourage her to realise that not all men are like her father. But she is seeing a lot of the entitled behaviour of men. Patriarchy in action. And her current boyfriend is reasonably on board with his own, and her needs, but not yet nailing communication.

If anyone ever really does!

It makes me hurt, seeing how she has been affected. I know she has zero respect for Roger, and contempt for Trinket. I can’t change that. I don’t talk EVER about them, with her. I wanted to know if her sperm donor got in touch any of the recent times he’s been up here, but didn’t. I steer well clear these days.

She’s been really messed up by his behaviour. I understand. I had the same experience as her, just a few years younger.

Serial cheating fathers do a number on us.

Like me, I guarantee my kids would swear they were fine.

Not affected whatsoever.

I thought I had it sussed, too.

Anxiety is one of the mental health issues we know can be caused, or at least exacerbated, by parental infidelity.

She saw me fighting so hard to heal from his affair with my friend.

And to see him do it again, after seeing the agony he caused then, it blew her mind.

She has zero respect for him. And I see that her eye rolls dismiss the whore he left us for as a total cunt.

I see how she is affected. Because I know her path. I’ve walked it, too.

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 told my father.

We were happy kids, dammit!

He definitely doesn’t think it affects me now. He says I’m fine, that I need to just calm down. I have a house, and great kids, a good job, a husband who loves me. I’m totally fine! He did his job!

I don’t fully trust my husband

A father is the first man a little girl trusts. He is the first man she loves and the first man to teach her about the love of a man. You’ve heard this all before. She believes in everything he says and every man that comes after him will be measured against him. But what if he’s good to his daughter, but not good to his wife?

What happens when the daughter of a serial cheater becomes a wife?

Not only did my father not hide his infidelities, but as I grew older, he shared his theories on why men cheat. The one that sticks out the most is a common excuse used by cheating men— if a woman is not giving her husband sex on the regular, he will go get it elsewhere. My father claimed to be telling me this to help me, so that it wouldn’t happen to me.

Looking back on it now, I believe he told me these things to convince himself that he was only doing what was natural, so that he wouldn’t have to face the very real fact that he was hurting his family.

I went out into the world believing that sex=loved. I gave myself over to a string of losers, thinking that as long as I did what they wanted, they would love me.

Guess what? They cheated on me anyway.”

Yup. I agree.

Just this week, my daughter fainted at work. She’s a slight girl. Always been little. Is a grazer. I have an anorexic niece, and I have watched my smallest kid, quietly, but like a hawk. She has pernicious anaemia, and watches her nutrition. Eats well, but grazes, rather than eats like a horse.

She was asked by her boss if they should be worried about her eating. She was mortified.

That said, I know weight is a touch point when your father is a cheater. I always felt overweight when I was with slim Rog. My curves were a daily fight for me. I hated my post baby body.

I constantly worry about my weight

Another one of my father’s theories for why men cheat, is that women get fat when they settle down. They stop taking care of themselves. Because of this, my mother would constantly try to find ways to have him validate her. She’d see an overweight woman cross in front of our car and she’d ask him if that’s how she looks (she never did). My father would laugh and assure her that she was nowhere near the size of that woman. My mother would lift her head and feel good all day at the expense of that poor woman who unknowingly crossed our toxic path. This happened a lot. It didn’t matter that my mother didn’t look like that woman, he still cheated.

So, it doesn’t matter how many times my husband assures me that he loves my curves, because of my father’s infidelity, I still wonder if my husband will leave me if and when I get too fat.

I know my mother felt this pressure, too.

Not thin enough.

Not pretty enough.

Not sexy enough.

Not clever enough.

Not wealthy enough.

Not good enough.

Not enough.

I love my kids. And I see the eldest ignore, or suck it up.

I was her.

She didn’t see what he did to me. She wasn’t there the night he knocked me out cold because I called him out on fucking his whore in my house. She is closer to her father than either of the others.

I get it. I see the varying degrees my brothers and I have tolerance for/relationships with, our cheating father.

But, selfish people will always be selfish people.

Roger never thought of consequences when he was desperately getting his dick wet in strange.

Not to him.

Not to me.

Certainly not to our kids.

He would never have thought or cared about how much damage he did. To this day, he would deny it.

Underplay it.

He’s a great guy, remember?

And Trinket is just a terrible person. Who didn’t give a fuck that I existed. That I loved him entirely. That I sacrificed for him because I adored him.

That our children believed he was sorry for his cheating, too.


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Until it happens to you …

It is so obvious that people never understood what I went through.

I stayed away from the old friends, because I was judged. Being screamed at that I was crazy, when I was completely broken hearted, and trying to hang onto this world, just confirmed that these people couldn’t possibly understand my hell.

I loved Roger.

With everything I had.

To the point of forgiving him for fucking around on me. For forming a deep, important connection to a woman who wasn’t me.

It was the most difficult journey of all. Finding a way to live with the knowledge that he put me in danger. That he could so deliberately and knowingly smash my heart, break my world.

He abused my trust. He made me feel terribly unworthy. He saw my agony. He told me loving lies about his feelings for me.

So, so many lies.

And even after seeing what he did to me, chose to cheat again.

I realised others see him as a good guy. Who “made a mistake.” Many blamed me. I mustn’t have been good enough.

I’ve had a few people recently (four years out) say to me that they didn’t know. They weren’t aware that I felt so cast out. So unsupported.

Yeah. That’s sweet. But not many reached out. Or understood. Had any empathy for my personal hell. The ones who immediately accepted Trinket as my replacement – after thirty years of deep love and commitment? Well, that is something I know about them, forever.

I hope they never have to find out how devastating that is.

But. I discovered the other night that there are people who genuinely care. Who wanted to see me. Even that some quietly are cheering me on, knowing that Roger did, in fact abuse me. I don’t mean the physical violence that happened that one night. I believe that the only people who know about that, believe I deserved it. So I never told that group of people. I saw what he told Trinket about it. His narrative is quite different to what I know really happened. And covert narcs tell a smooth story.

I mean the mental and emotional abuse. The gaslighting, manipulation, the totally convincing pretending he loved me and was sorry.

I know how he treated me.

I see who he is. It isn’t who he pretends to be.

And that is why I keep my guard up to full height if he ever tries to show the world that we are friendly. Why I can’t look at him. I know I would see “my Norm,” and not who he is today.

That is a real and present danger to my wellbeing.


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The lesson

Love deep and hard.

But don’t let them hold your heart.

I love this post by GS on Be Inspired.

After betrayals by the person you spent a lifetime with, loving with every part of you, don’t let them break you.

Rebuilding, gluing a shattered heart, a shattered life, a shattered future back together, is your job now.

It’s been my job for the past four years.

Longer really. Because he broke me once before. I worked incredibly hard, so very painfully to rebuild then. Only to have him smash the new me as I was gingerly placing myself back in his care. I thought he’d never do it again.

It’s highly likely I might see him/them soon. And to be honest, I am shitting my pants! I’m a lot heavier than I was when they last saw me. Obviously, I am also older (as they are.) It’s been a long, long time. I know I am still affected by all of this. By him. By her. Trauma still sits in my body, and the pain of (losing? Shedding? Being near? Seeing? Hearing? Smelling?) him is raw.

But, I’m also aware that this is my one life. I won’t be put off living it out loud. I’m a bloody awesome person. Who loves. Laughs. Cares. It’s a hard thing to name yourself as “awesome.” Or “good.”

One of the things BG says about me is that I am the most caring, loving, tolerant, open, good person he’s ever met. I like that. Because I see his close friendship circle likewise. They are damn fine people. To be considered “good,” in such great company is flattering.

Letting him see my heart has been risky.

I’ll never let him hold it.

Not like I let Rog take it, and smash it to bits.