The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo
I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These are your greatest treasures. Compassionate towards yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.
The last week has been an emotionally revealing week.
I met with an attorney that told me C’s restraining order was a foregone conclusion. As she said, “she’s a woman and this is rural northwest Wisconsin. Merit is irrelevant.”
I had already made the decision to go to the hearing regardless of the outcome.
I was prepared to take it on the chin. Instead, the judge looked at what C presented and called her out for her entitlement, for not returning my things or discussing the shared property, and for confusing my adulting with harassment.
I saw more Ugly and acting out from C. As Not Your Average Girl summed up, “She’s basically a bad loser and she wants to drag you through every puddle, thorny bush and pile of cow shit just for her own twisted satisfaction.”
A month ago I would have argued hurt people hurt people and fallen to my mantra that a vengeance is a lazy form of grieving. I hurt her, she hurts me, blah, blah, blah. However, as Moisy reminded me yesterday, I need to take off the rose-colored glasses: this is who she chooses to be, she has chosen this role.
The judge didn’t ask me a single question.
I tell a friend, because C doesn’t get what she feels entitled too, and because outsiders have made this a group project, there will be an escalation of storytelling (see Friday).
Also, C admits she is choosing to read my blog.
SIDEBAR: I ordered a copy of the transcript because I want to make sure I heard what C said and what I think C say were the same thing. Sometimes we hear what we want to hear and not what was said.
I realized because I am so focused on my drama I completely forgot about my mother’s birthday. Other’s might interpret that to mean I’m focused on C when in reality I’m simply focused on my life.
Reflecting on the hearing I realize an elegant and simple truth: C didn’t end the relationship because of my betrayal or anything else, she ended the relationship because she wants something different. She admitted in court things happened in the last 12 months we were together. She didn’t elaborate in court.
She never elaborated to me.
In researching my Patterns I discover the word gunnysacking and realize this is how I deal with some of my problems. Although, I eventually will face them.
I also realize this is how C dealt with her resentments until the bag burst. As such, I feel C probably made that decision months prior to K calling her. The reveal was simply the bag bursting. Everything else is simply nuance.
In the last year, she never came to me and said, “Sean, this relationship is important to me and we have problems. We need to talk and get some help to move forward.”
On the other hand, I did at least twice.
This was actually an emotionally helpful revelation.
After discussing this with Dr. Deb during a session, she asks me, “If you and your ex-wife had counseling and learned better coping skills would you still be together?” After a quiet moment of reflection, I reply, “Yes.” For all of our faults, my ex-wife was always willing…even when we didn’t know how. She didn’t run and hide; I did.
I recognize in whatever relationship comes next, personal and relationship development needs to be at the core. Which means if I’m committed to the relationship I need to be willing to go to her and say, “My Love, this relationship is important to me and we have problems. We need to talk and get some help to move forward.”
Taking personal responsibility is an act of vulnerability.
The Doctor reminds me once more, that I’m not responsible for C and her hurt. A year later if C hasn’t sought help for her trauma, I have no responsibility to her needs or wants.
I went to sleep wondering, “Have I made C more important than me? Am I willing to be the Villain if it breaks the Patterns?”
My original plan was to spend the holidays with my parent’s in Columbus but the hearing screwed with that.
However, I spent the day with my surrogate family, The Wanderer and her family, and Star and her family. I discovered it is completely possible to carry sorrow and joy at the same time.
Also, I miss being able to eat as much as I want of anything I want. Probably the one thing I miss most from my youth.
One year ago Friday, C asked me to leave after discovering my betrayal. A year ago I was sleeping in my van in the campground.
I made the best of it and help my friend, the Wanderer, set up a one-day art show at the local community center with ten other artists and crafters.
The experience is a great reminder that I bring enthusiasm, energy, and pleasantness to the experiences in my life.
The Wanderer described me as engaged, positive, and supportive of not only her but of the other artists and people at the event. I helped others carry things in and out, swept and picked up at the end of the show.
This is not unusual. That is who I am.
I spent an hour talking to one of C’s artist acquaintances. The first one I met with C when I moved here. The artist was a bit standoffish at first but she eventually she warmed up.
Another overlapping artist friend started the conversation with, “I’ve seen your name a lot lately but you are here with the Wanderer and she is a good judge of people.” At the end of the event, she was comfortable enough with me to invite me to her Christmas Eve Party in River Town.
The Wander reminded me afterward, adults don’t care about what happened between C and I. They care about what I am doing at the moment I am with them. As such, by taking the risk to walk up to these women, facing the uncertainty, and be emotionally open, I acted courageously. I’ve learned hiding would have taken ten times the emotional energy.
It dawned on me as I stood there and talked to a couple of artists that despite the rumormongering, and attempts by C and the Flying Monkey Squad to criminalize my behavior, none of the adults actually care about the ghost stories. Adults judge me based on how I treat them and not the rumors they hear third hand. I owe no one an explanation.
I won’t hide. I won’t be blackmailed. I won’t run. I did what I did with ©, I did it to me, and to Us. Everything else is a ghost story.
Realizing my courage took the edge off what was a hard day.
But speaking of ghost stories…
As I said on Tuesday, I knew this was coming so I wasn’t surprised or ambushed. If nothing else, the Pattern is predictable.
On what could have been a horrible day my Personal Flying Monkey took time out of his busy schedule to try and stir the emotional pot and take my inventory. Writing me from one more alias account he let me know he doesn’t approve of what I’m doing.
As if it matters…
I showed a friend his six messages and we had a good laugh. Our favorite line is where he brags, “Trust me: I am not one to concern myself with hurting someone’s feelings when they are already drowning in self-misery.”
Really? And that is something he’s PROUD about!
He believes I’m irrational, anyone that interacts with me is enabling and has been groomed. He accuses my grieving as simply an act of a miserable person manipulating for attention. He goes on to write how sharing my experience and the lessons, while honoring my past, is an unhealthy obsessive compulsion.
Let’s review: a year later he is still focused on me, he intentionally picked a day that could have been emotionally charged and tried to manipulate it, he hides behind an anonymous account, he continually tries to split the conversation, avoids vulnerability, and when called out escalates in his accusations, and offers nothing new or insightful to the conversation.
He uses all the code words to call me a narcissist without actually using the word. As my good Doctor says: “If he spots it he’s got it.” She reminds me, “You find his labeling confusing because it doesn’t apply to you.”
Also, an attempt at creating another Drama Triangle. He chooses the role of Hero and © as a Victim. When you see the Pattern it cannot be unseen. I spotted the Drama Triangle because, finally, I recognized the Pattern. I spot it, I got it.
The difference now is, I don’t care about being the Villain, I know C isn’t my responsibility, and I know he isn’t a Hero but a lonely, broken, sad, and damaged human being with a high IQ and no emotional intelligence.
My friend and I laugh at his hamfisted attempts at staying relevant and manipulation. I’ve made enough progress I ignore him mostly except to remind him of his own ill-informed opinions.
He escalates and is forced to start repeating himself. I stop posting his comments and block him again. I’m fairly certain he’s drunk.
Had the best almond roll from my favorite cafe, helped a friend prep her farm for the winter and drove the ATV around her hideaway.
Moisy at Making this Better writes me:
Moisy: If you looked back at your time with c, really looked back would you see negatives as well as positives? It’s a rhetorical question because sometimes we tend to look back at the good, especially if we have made a mistake, and not consider the bad. There are both in everything and when your moving forward and recovering then as well as looking at yourself look at all of it. I hope that helps.
Me: What happened early was that I had C on such a pedestal that I didn’t think she did anything wrong. This conspired with my Shame and Humiliation to excuse a bunch of C’s Ugly. Ugly that has come out in spades since this started…and since I have been so intently digging into the Patterns it means I also have to be honest about hers too. It takes two to tango right? At the moment I’m struggling with lumping all of her behavior into the category of hurt people hurt people. The other possibility is that she really is a vindictive entitled childish bitch and this IS who she is…but I wear Rose colored glasses and as a result, tend to excuse her behavior.
Moisy: That’s exactly it Sean, Rich hurt me, and I did hurt him back as you will see, but I also helped him as you can see in my last post. Hurt people do hurt people but if they are not selfish they will help them too because they love them. I hope this helps as it’s probably hard to hear, but you are a year in so perhaps it is time to think of you now.
Later had a great date night with one of my Enablers (*eyeroll*). Enjoyed good whiskey, Colorado Gold, turkey leftovers, chocolate, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
The company was great and the bedtime desert was hugely pleasurable. When I was younger I could have indulged repeatedly. Food isn’t the only thing I miss having as much of as I want.
Had lunch with friends and discussed what happens next. It’s been a long year. I’ve done what I can.
We discuss whether I should out the two affairs of the Flying Monkey Squad members. The consensus from the betrayed partners I respect almost all say, “Hell, yes!”
“If it can be destroyed by the truth let it be destroyed…” Right?
Is it my responsibility? Do my motives matter? Am I simply looking to create collateral damage? Should I wait for the holidays to be over? Am I looking to be the hand of Karma?
*eats a cookie and mulls over the potential fallout*
The year of 2018 was about learning how not to be, as Emerson wrote, a “slave of [my] past.” I have used the year to “plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far.” I seek to return “with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience, that shall explain and overlook the old.”
In other words to rediscover my resiliency, truth, and power.
As the last year required me to lean into the pain, loss, and truth, I sense the next twelve months are going to be about leaning into the conflict and learning to stop avoiding the hard conversations and difficult choices. I know my Power now. I know I am resilient. I am learning to be vulnerable. Next year I will have to bring it together.
I’m excited about what is coming.
Here are the people, places, and things that carry me forward through the day as I trudge the road of happy destiny.