“You either die a hero, or live long enough to become a villain.”
Since this started Painter has been surrounded by people telling me what they think of me and who I am based on their own ignorance, fears, and armchair psychology.
While all I’ve truly cared about is what Painter thinks, feels, or says. Which is nearly nothing.
It has, in the past, seriously messed with my head and anxiety disorder.
Let’s get the qualifier out of the way, because it is important to repeat that none of what I write excuses my infidelity, the secret-keeping, my escalating series of lies, and the ways I worked to protect my secret. Nothing can justify my selfish choices.
However, a friend said to me over the week, “What you did was wrong. It only defines your life if you let it. Don’t let others use it to define your future.”
She encouraged me to write about it if it helps me, write about it if it helps others.
She said, “Anyone that reads your writing, reads it by choice. You made choices. Do not be defined by theirs.”
Since the first ambush by W, I’ve been plagued with a recurring nightmare of Painter covering me with gasoline and setting me on fire and of “friends” trapping me in an alley and beating me with baseball bats.
They have also been sending me their opinions, calling people in my hometown and telling them I’m dangerous, a con and charlatan, and posting to social media walls. The themes have varied but the essence is the same: Painter is an innocent, poor, and defenseless girl and I’m a big bad meanie and I need to stop writing because it’s all lies, lies, lies, lies mixed with bad grammar and inane ramblings.
I don’t care about the rumors anymore. They cannot hurt me unless I allow it.
It is why I choose to spend time in and around the community that has been my home for the last 5 years. I will not run from the pain. I will not hide. I will not allow others to use my Ugly against me. I am free of secrets and I won’t be blackmailed.
Of course, it scares the hell out of me but so did telling the truth to Painter about my betrayal.
I won’t learn if I continue to let my fear of others define me and my choices.
It’s ironic when I was lying and secret-keeping my infidelity was slowly killing me and when the truth came out it destroyed my life. Now that I’ve embraced being secret free and open people want me to shut up and keep secrets.
It’s almost as if people never want the truth but wanted to feel comfortable and self-righteous.
Two friends wrote me earlier this week telling me I should stop writing because it upsets people and is humiliating to Painter.
Which is never my intention but my story for the last seven years has been so tied to her, my betrayal has no meaning without context.
I wrote the first post because Painter wasn’t speaking to me and I was looking for answers. I wrote it because the five primary friendships in my life suddenly stopped speaking to me. I wrote it as a plea for communication and openness. I wrote it because I was reaching out.
Almost immediately the hyenas showed up making wildly inaccurate accusations having almost nothing to do with my infidelity. Just their ghost stories and armchair psychology.
I keep defending Painter and shifting the responsibility to those individuals enmeshing themselves into our story out of their ego, arrogance, and a desire, as a friend said a few months ago, “to get into Painter’s panties.”
However, their narratives weren’t created in a vacuum.
Someone painted a dark narrative around my infidelity and supporting behavior. They’ve used it to justify their behavior, reward destructive coping mechanisms, hide their own deceptions, and avoid owning their own issues.
They have as, a professional said to me, projected their damage onto ours.
I realized this week when her Hero de jour wrote to me, Painter has her own secrets too and by encouraging others to paint me as a malignant narcissist she can better hide and run from her issues. It’s the reason I wrote a letter of apology to her former husband.
Although it isn’t my role to reveal her secrets, it also isn’t my job to keep them.
Looking at my pattern it is obvious, in some ways, why I chose her.
As such, to recover my self-respect and power I need to stop thinking of her as a victim too, because she is not. We each take turns in different places in this Drama Triangle.
“Once we decide to take self-responsibility and tell our truth, those still on the triangle are likely to accuse us of victimizing them,” writes Lynne Forest. “To escape the victim grid, we must be willing to be perceived as the ‘bad guy.'”
Forest adds, “This doesn’t make it so, but we must be willing to sit with the discomfort of being perceived as such.”
Forest is right, of course. It is uncomfortable. Thank science for Lexapro!
And the Irish for whiskey.
Everyone’s roles in the Drama Triangle is the Way of Thing it isn’t the Thing. As Harvey Dent said, “You either die a hero or live long enough to become a villain.” We’ve both played all these roles at different moments since discovery day.
I’m now sold as the Villian because I’m owning my shit and working really hard and looking for a way out of the triangle.
Which also drove many aspects of my relationship with Beatrix.
I may not be doing any of this well but I am doing it.
Allowing the Way of the Thing (in this specific case, the Drama triangle) to go unchallenged and unspoken reinforces my place as the villain de jour in the Drama Triangle.
As such, I’m finished playing any role for Painter – or her merry band of enablers.
What I did was reckless and selfish. However, I’ve never sent a threatening email or text to her. And contrary to the ghost stories I’ve never stalked her online or skulked about our home once she asked me to leave. People selling that story are hurting her and adding damage to someone already struggling and hurting.
I don’t deserve a relationship with her. She either loves me and lets me stay or loves me and asks me to leave. There is no wrong choice.
I’ve consistently said – and acted – in a way that gives Painter all the power to end the relationship.
What I’ve done consistently is let her know she is the one and was always the one. However, I’ve stopped Pursuing or throwing myself on Painter’s sword – mostly.
And the truth is why Painter’s Hero de jour emailed me a love note.
This is the pattern and I’m too out of fucks to continue playing roles defined by others and pretending it isn’t.
In December there was a competition for Hero de jour. I had multiple Hero’s emailing me. Below is one of my personal favorites.
Years ago, when we first met, and I was the Hero de jour I wrote one to a different Villian.
(I’ve posted them all chronologically below from newest to oldest.)
They all read essentially the same and talk about Painter the same way. These say a great deal about these three men. None of it particularly flattering.
Regardless of the threats, I will keep writing. After all, as Mark Nepo writes, “If I had experienced different things I would say different things.”
It helps me. Maybe it helps others. Let the pain have a purpose.
This is a note from her current boyfriend, let’s call him Patsy. We’ve never officially met but he’s been chatting up Painter at least since last summer.
Everyone has motives, right?
This is a note from her December Hero de jour. He only knows me through Painter and has never spent any time alone with me.
In the seven years Painter and I were together he spent less than 10 hours with me. Warren sent me a dozen of his editorials after I started writing. This is from around Day 20 as well.
I discovered last night he started following my cadconfessional.com blog.
That should be fun.
The irony is, he accuses me of stalking Painter without evidence (because there is none) but he keeps showing up on my social media.
This is my email to Painter’s high school boyfriend.
There is more to this story but it is an example of how willingly I jumped into the Hero role and tried to handle things I should have stayed out of.
It makes me so sick looking at it. I have a pattern. It needs to stop.
I’m disgusted by my own arrogance and need to be the Hero. I’m going to owe this guy an amends too.