You either own your fear and anger or your fear and anger own you.
I’m immensely proud of C. Not that it matters but I am going to explain anyway.
C and I are in this situation for a variety of reasons. Some are obvious, some are not. Some are above the line, while others are in my – and probably Cs – blind spots.
As you know, I bristle sometimes at how often over the years C and I have leveraged a Pattern where I played the Hero and took on responsibility for all the emotional weight of the relationship.
I have, on more than one occasion, openly discussed my irritation about how other people carry C’s water and she doesn’t step into her fear or anger. It has allowed a mob of ill-informed Flying Monkeys to hijack the narrative and further scare a traumatized and hurting human being. They have done nothing to empower her or encourage her to lean into her fears. I’ve documented elsewhere what that looks like so I’m not going to get it into here.
In my opinion, these interlopers have fueled a Victim Mentality and a Drama Triangle. Her testimony at court Tuesday highlights that fact.
IMO for this the reason, the judge said to her, “Getting your feelings hurt is not harassment.” I’m sure somewhere in the world there are a couple of trolls talking about the “Good Old Boys Club” and how the judge and I were colluding together.
In reality, her avoiding the hard things has, at times, dragged things out. A point even the judged chastized her about. “Why can’t he have his things?” the judged asked.
The difficulty for me is that after 12 months of intensive counseling and openness, I see the Pattern now: I see my part in it and her part. As I said yesterday, I am committed to breaking the Pattern, even if it makes me the villain.
My attorney told me Monday, C would get the restraining order regardless of the facts because that is the “way it is in rural Wisconsin.” She even told me to save my $2,000 and spend it on myself over the holidays. She flat out said, “Don’t waste your morning. Sleep in.”
I kept the $2,000 but went anyway.
I’m going to take my lumps, face my fears, and not be blackmailed by my own Pride and Humiliations, or by others. If I did something wrong then I am open to learning from the experience so I can do something different. Hiding from the judge certainly won’t be helpful in the long run. It would have been more conflict avoidance…which is the root of this episode of Shameless I’m currently staring in.
I went willingly to face whatever happened because I recognize the impermanence of the moment. This awareness has been helpful as I strive to learn the tools that allow me to face conflict without fearing conflict. These skills can be learned. Going to court and leaning into the conflict was important for me as I trudge this path.
Which brings me back to C.
I’m proud of her. Probably prouder of her than I have been in a long time.
Here is why: I know C, I know Our Pattern. Unless you suffer from an Anxiety Disorder you cannot appreciate how difficult it is to function in the face of conflict. It is nearly impossible to describe in words the extent of anxiety conflict produces. The emotional upheaval is debilitating.
I would know.
C and I were good together because at times we could lean on each other when the other one was low on emotional resources. I would catch her as she fell, I’d hold her hand, whisper in her ear she could do it, and walk with her.
I’d stop at places she wanted to see such as an Bill’s garage in Lebanon, MS, the renovated Fox Theater in North Platte, NE, a neon art gallery in Albuquerque, NM, a hippie artist outside Traverse City, MI, and the Boots Motel and Red Oak II in Carthage, MO.
We made hundreds of random, unexpected finds over our years together. I’d go knock on the door, make introductions, and once there was a green light she’d barnstorm the door and we’d spend hours talking history, art, and taking pictures.
I’d usually wander off, find a quiet place, and watch her from a distance effortlessly laugh and smile. It made me hot for her. Thinking of it makes me hot still.
Afterward, I’d remind her, she is powerful and strong, I was her Partner and Cheerleader, and that I believed in her and our life…then I’d take her to bed and love her.
As such, as much as anything, watching her anxieties, and friends, push her into a Victim Mentality makes me sick. I created the fertile ground but others have tilled the garden. It just pisses me off for her just as it pisses me off whenever I see it anywhere.
She isn’t my responsibility but I care about her pain and hurt.
Therefore, on Tuesday, when she walked into the courtroom, walked up to the table, and sat six feet away from me, I was immensely proud of her.
Think for a moment about the courage that took. How she must have leaned into her fear, anxiety, and anger to drive down to the courthouse, fill out the paperwork, file it, and then on the day of the hearing show up.
She did it alone.
She did it without anyone softening the ground for her. She went, talked openly and honestly about how I dishonored her and our life together. For the very first time since discovery, she got to tell me, even indirectly, in her own voice about her pain.
She took a risk, faced the uncertainty, and was emotionally honest. It was courageous. If you knew her you’d know how courageous.
Not that it matters, but I was reminded how proud I’ve always been of her. At that moment I saw the woman I fell in love with all those years ago. At that moment, for the first time in a very long time, I saw the woman I loved.
I saw her Power. I hope she felt her Power too.
I hope this is the beginning of her healing, finding her own voice, and rediscovering her Power. Perhaps she will recognize the courage and strength it took and push back against the fear and anger. It’s the first time in twelve months she could say something in her own voice to me.
Brene Brown says courage doesn’t make you vulnerable, being vulnerable gives you courage. C’s actions were an act of self-empowerment. An act of vulnerability.
Perhaps instead of her fear and anger owning her, she will decide it is time to own the fear and anger.