43: Do I Love You?

Who knows

that in the depth of the ravine

of the mountain of my hidden heart

a firefly of my love is aflame.

Asutsu-Ni

Do I love you?

Just one of many mountains.

The Good Doctor asked me today if I still love you?

Yes. Of course.

Then the Good Doctor went on, directing me to look into my heart and really think about if I still wanted you. She asked, knowing what I know about you how I respond if you knocked on the door and said you wanted to do what was necessary to make a relationships work and build a life together.

Frankly, I was so caught off guard by the preposterous nature of your hypothetical vulnerability I actually burst out in laughter. It took me a moment to realize she was asking a serious question.

Of course I would try.

Then the Good Doctor went on to ask me, did I think it would work.

No. Of course.

“Why?” she asked.

Because I know too much now. I’m not interested in being a Hero to another person’s Damsel. I won’t pursue you. I refuse to carry nearly 98% of the household expenses. My needs and wants matter. I want a Partner that can say “I’m sorry” and doesn’t let their pride run them. I need a Partner that is committed to being an emotional equal and doesn’t expect her mind read, will carry her own emotional water, and isn’t silently keeping score while sandbagging resentments.

I want a partner that will not use silence as a weapon instead of dealing with their own hurt, anger, pride, and Ugly. I want these things because those are the things I am bringing to my relationship.

I confused being your Partner with being your Hero, protector, manservant, sherpa, and driver. I think you did too.

After twenty months of your silence I’ve learned there were places in our relationship that were Ugly. Your sense of financial entitlement, over-sized pride, and emotional silence did as much damage to me as my betrayal, secret-keeping, and escalating series of lies did to you.

I’m not going to rehash the where, why, and how but the reality is you did things that hurt me and Us. I keep downplaying and dismissing your behaviors but the Good Doctor holds me accountable to the truth and won’t let me do what comes natural: throw myself on the sword.

I’m saying this out-loud, not for you, but as a reminder to myself and so there is no confusion the next time I romanticize our past.

You Probably Think This Is About You

Like nearly everything I have written and done since you asked me to leave this is about me working through my grief, sense of loss, deep hurts, and owning my truth. However, I’m sure, like so much I’ve written and done, you will think this is about you, but it’s not. Sadly you, and your lickspittles, sycophants, and flying monkeys won’t see that truth either.

For example, you couldn’t accept that I moved back to YoYo Town seven months after we split because I loved living in Western Wisconsin.

You made it about you.

You couldn’t accept that at nearly eleven months after we split, I would go to a bar I’ve been to a dozen times in a town where I’ve lived for four years, to see a musician I know, on a date with someone that enjoy’s my company.

You just couldn’t ignore us as we ignored you.

You and your Patsy IV honestly believed I should leave to make you more comfortable.

You made it about you. Then your date went into Hero mode making it about him and you threw yourself onto him like you use to throw yourself onto me when making a show.

The pattern is tragically predictable.

Even my decision to stop paying for the art studio was twisted into a story of maniacal intrigue. It couldn’t have simply been I had no obligations to you, wanted free of the debt of paying for your art studio.

You sold the story that by wanting my things returned and my unwillingness to pay for the art studio five months after you ended our relationship I was the being manipulative. You seeded the narrative that I was trying to steal your paintings, hurt your things, and control you and your monkey’s all responded in kind creating drama, making you Queen of the woodpeckers for a day.

Again, you embraced a shallow bravado and played damsel, put the band back together, and had a seriously damaged Hero call me.

And they became your heroes for the day…and then your sociopaths turned it into a game.

When I tried to have my things returned, even after you told the judge you would return them, you just ignored me, sold them on Facebook market, Etsy, Craigslist, and other online sites.

As if I was being unreasonable for wanting the things I brought and bought returned.

You kept those things and made it about you again.

When a complete stranger on the internet posted a comment and called you a “bitch” you contacted my client and told them I was calling you names. You didn’t tell her I defended your actions. You just told the part of the story that made you look like a victim and me a monster.

The list goes on and on.

In a hundred different ways you’ve told people my choices are somehow about you…and then pathologize my decision to be vulnerable as some sort of con or weakness.

After a great deal of thought, hundreds of hours of counseling, I realize, as the children of Facebook like to say, “You can eat a bag of dicks.”

I’m left to wonder if I am so emotionally damaged that I still would be open to you. Just in case you are confused, that is about me and not you.

Consistency

However, if your pattern is any indication, you will continue to make it about you and double down on the narrative that I’m irrational or that I’ve deluded myself into thinking we are in some kind of relationship.

I have no illusions about what happened, or the status of our dead relationship. As I type this and reflect on what has happened over the last 20 months, I am reminded, once again, it’s for the best.

You aren’t going to change. This is who you are. You are consistent. The things you told me about your former Husband and Indy are the same things you told your Flying Monkey Squad, Patsy III, and IV about me.

I wish you would stop running long enough to look in the mirror because you have incredibly beautiful qualities too when you aren’t scared and flooding.

The Good Doctor remind me that for you to break the pattern would require you to own your feelings, thoughts, and actions. You would have to level your pride after seeding so many ridiculous ghost stories and spreading so many blatantly cruel and abusive rumors propping yourself up.

If you wanted to be with me, you would have to own what is true about you, your history, your heart, and your feelings and go against the opinions of your friends, strangers, and family.

This is why I reflectively laughed when the Good Doctor asked about my interest in reconciliation. I’ve changed. I won’t be enslaved to my fears or yours anymore.

We both know how important your pride is. As you said to me, your “pride will never allow us to be together again.”

As I’ve trudged and dug my way through this experience I realize that is the saddest thing you have ever said to me. I hurt for you and have empathy because I understand how my pride drove my choices. Therefore, I meet you anger, entitlement, and silence with compassion.

And despite all of this I know I still care about you and miss you, our family, our future, and our life. Despite all the abusive and cruel choices you made, I remain loving you and I can admit it because in this respect, I don’t fear vulnerability, how you, your friends and family will laugh or turn a heartfelt confession into a joke.

Our life together was never a joke. Our seven years together mattered to me and were important to my life.

As such, my heart remains loving you because I believed in you and Us. It remains because I know my truth. Although, I still care about you, I recognize emotionally and mentally this is best for me.

I recently have come to the realization that although at moments I feel your absence it’s just more an emotional rash I occasionally scratch and far less an injury in need of triage.

Once I wanted to cut out my heart to avoid these feelings and thoughts. But now I treat these things as the flower they are. I see them as flowers because they remind me that what I felt and believed about you was real to me. If I didn’t care it wouldn’t have hurt.

I miss aspects of our life together but I now do those things I enjoy without you. Your company would be great, but not necessary.

I’m Out of Fucks

I know this now because when our paths crossed a few weeks ago you did what you always do. You saw me long before I saw you. No one was there. No one would have ever known.

You had the opportunity to do something different. And you chose to do what you do.

Because I understand, and forgive you, after pause, I simply walked away from you again. I cannot coerce you into talking with me.

I’ve never tried to force a conversation. I stopped long enough to give you a chance. Next time I won’t even pause because I’ve done nothing to justify your behaviors. As my Good Doctor and friends remind me, I set our house on fire but you used it to burn down our past and our future.

I know out of entitlement and anger you have felt justified in the silence, abuse and cruelty. Hurt people hurt people. I’m sorry you hurt.

Your behavior leaves me alone deciphering your truths. Honestly, I’m not doing it anymore. Your truths don’t matter anymore. I’m simply out of fucks for you.

As I walked away I once again felt the sorrow of sadness for you, as once more I was reminded that the loss is yours.

I say it is your loss, not because I’m a prize, but because you didn’t use this experience to confront your anxiety, fears, or anger you brought into our life. Instead, you ran to other men and women to act as your sword and shield just as I once ran to other women.

My heart aches for you.

There is so much to be gained by being vulnerable, taking the risk, facing the uncertainty, and being open.

It is from this perspective, I don’t regret trying again and again with you.

Trying was never a waste of time or energy because with each vulnerable act, and each rejection, I found something solid and true inside myself. “Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation,” writes Pema Chodron, “can that which is indestructible in us be found.” 

And don’t doubt for a moment, your actions, and the actions of the Faux Friend Patrol, annihilated me. Again and again and again for months I could do nothing or say anything without one of your Heros turning up like a bad penny.

You did me a favor.

The gift of that experience, and your silence, is I discovered my heart is indestructible. My heart chooses to love you…but that certainly doesn’t mean I’m interested in being with you the way things were.

All the energy you placed into avoiding this experience, using people as foils and varas, could have been invested in confronting that which hurt Us and our life, your marriage, your family, your life, and keeping you trapped.

That doesn’t mean reconciliation but it would have at least meant a power parting. Perhaps even some much needed healing and honesty. My truth is out. I’m shame free. Your dishonesty and shame festers in your silence. It’s your loss because this experience could have been leveraged to explore those things.

Together. Separately. Alone.

Many of the attachment obstacles in our relationship predated Us. I brought some. You brought others. Then we never faced them. It isn’t that we didn’t want to, but we lacked the self-awareness and commitment to learn and try.

I’m not saying this not to add shame to what you already carry.

I really believe I got the better end of this Ugly. I was forced to change or die. You were told nothing was wrong with you and if I was gone your problems would be gone too. That was the Flying Monkeys Squads message over and over in their childish notes: “Good riddance” they wrote.

What a disservice these “friends” did to your spirit, heart, and life. What a disservice they did to the pain you were already experiencing.

Early in our relationship you announced to me, “I carry my anger inside and then I will just get angry, blow-up, and then I’m finished.”

And that is exactly. what. happened.

Forgiving You

I have understanding and compassion about your revenging. “Venging is a lazy form of grieving,” writes Perel. Our grieving was one more common ground we could have explored and built on, but you decided you needed and wanted something else.

I understand. I’m not sure I could have stood with you if you had slept with an ex, and lied about it either.

Although, I know I would have tried if you wanted too because that is my truth.

As the Good Doctor talked today, and I found ways to express my feelings for you, I recognize I forgive you most days, and in most moments.

As you said to me once, “We have a lot in common.” As such, I understand where your behaviors come from. I appreciate the nuance. I know how you run from fear of conflict and your own emotional chaos. We both know how you run, and how I run from fear of emotional vulnerability is the similar.

I’m truly sorry I didn’t listen when you tried to explain your pain to me. I’m sorry I made your pain about my Heroing.

Because I have sat next to your beauty and your Ugly, I know you better than most. I know you are not a shallow, ditsy, or empty-headed blonde. I know it because I made time to look when I decided to love you. I know there is a great deal churning under your surface emotionally, mentally, creatively, and sexually.

I once adored those thing about you.

However, if you won’t tell my about your feelings, fears, angers, frustrations, but carry them to other men that validate your resentments that isn’t about me or anyone else.

You told me about your ex-husbands anger, violence, and miserly ways. You told me how Indy betrayed and abandoned you. About your parents behaviors when you were a teen and while in college.

Knowing these things I should have encouraged you to seek help, listening and talking to you like someone I loved, patiently holding your hand as you worked through your things, and I worked through mine so we could have a deeper intimacy.

Instead I selfishly and arrogantly armored up, climbed onto my steed, and pridefully proclaimed, “I will do whatever it takes to keep you safe and protect you.” In your pain I found purpose.

In the process I tried to control your feelings and fix things that were neither mine to control or fix. I chose to give up my integrity, needs, wants, hopes out of a passion and desire just to stand in your shade to prove my worthiness for your attention and love.

That says more about me than you.

Accepting Mark Nepo’s premise that, “only by daring to be ourselves can we deeply know others,” I finally recognize you.

As such, I see now that you let me do those things when it was pretty, convenient, and useful.

That’s about you.

One thought on “43: Do I Love You?

  1. I want through something similar with some very different behavioral twists. My ex and I had a highly toxic relationship, riddled with maladaptive coping skills and fears of intimacy on both ends. It was a rollarcoaster with high and lows. I mistook the intensity for passion. In the end, he left me like I was a piece of trash. He was at the beginning of an affair that I was discovering. I was still very much in love with him. He moved back with his parents. I ended up doing these drive bys thinking it would somehow advance my grieving process if I saw the carnage first hand? Crazy I know, but that’s where I was.

    I was still in individual therapy. (seriously, have I ever not been?) Finally, after a year of me playing Nancy Drew and coming up empty handed. Hours on online support groups rehashing the trauma because my friends could bear hearing it no more. My best friend pulled me aside. She asked me if loved him? And I said yes. She said, “he doesn’t call, text, or even want to see you.” She went on to say, “you need are not fully living life. You keep hoping he’s going to come back. And if I was totally honest, I was. I insisted that maybe he would one day, that maybe he would do the work on himself, go to AA, get counseling etc. She said “maybe, maybe not. But you can’t base your life on a ‘maybe.” She said “You are afraid to let go.” And I was. I got all of it at the intellectual level it stayed there. . She said,”move on with your life and if he knocks on your door someday in the future having worked on himself and wants to reconcile with you; and IF you happen to be single at that time? Then it’s meant to be. “

    Her words hit me hard. I did not want to admit I was living in a lot of “what if” and “maybe” in my head for a very long time.

    After all the counseling sessions, I realized I had got the bait and switch. I drove a Ferrari off the lot, after 7 years with this man he was verbally abusive and silent treatment wielding, sex-withholding and cheating, Liter of Vodka drinking Ford Pinto. She began questioning what I was in love with, exactly. I couldn’t make a short list of good qualities: showers daily, good with animals…., It had come down to that I was in love with the “idea” of him, the concept he sold me on the dealership lot. But that didn’t last very long. Not who he actually was and is. My shrink said relationships are not real estate, this is not where you see a “vision” of a person and they become a project for you, a fixer upper. I can save that guy/gal, they just need a little work. That’s codependency. If you don’t like them as they are right now? Then it’s your job to walk. Don’t expect change. You can only change you. And even that’s dicey….yeah we know I’m no prize either.

    You may or may not relate to any of this, I don’t know. Hoping this finds you well- ❤️

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