65: Living in Boxes (Part I)

I made a lot of promises to my X.

Frankly, most I kept, some I broke, a few I ignored. The two most important promises were “No secrets, no lies.”

I broke both of those early and often.

As a result my prideful commitment to those promises became a prison. They were a rigidly constructed box leaving no way to ask for help or to change. As Zani says in Star Trek: Picard, “A promise is a prison.”

As a result, my promises made my X a jailer instead of a Partner. I became a slave to the status quo.

The first time I lied about my whereabouts in order to cover-up the shame over my secret broke me in fundamentally important ways for I am not without a conscious.

I know what I did and I know a lot about why I did it. More is still being reveal because I keep looking and I remain curious.

As such, I deeply understand the process, consequences, and pain of living in a self-made box. A box constructed of shame, pride, secrets, and an escalating series of lies.

I have also experienced first hand the pain and anxiety of being forced out of the box.

And for this reason, my heart breaks for my X as I’ve recognized over the last thirty two months that my X is a cheater, secret-keeper, and liar too.

And now that I can admit that truth I am more free to own only what is true about me.

When we first met she told me how restrained and restricted she felt in her marriage. How her husband kept making their world smaller and smaller and how she felt stifled creatively, sexually, and emotionally.

Before we even began our affair relationship I encouraged her to go to Al-Anon, therapy, or talk to her pastor. However, with every encouraging word I offered I’d hear stories of his violence, selfishness, anger, and miserly approach to sharing resources.

For example, the story is he bought $5,000 worth of guns and ammo while she had to buy food for the family on state assistance. The story is he would go on weeks long hunting and fishing excursions while she was left behind with no financial resources to care for the twins. The story is after the birth of the twins she almost died as a result of a septic blood infection and he abandoned her. The story is he would punch holes in the walls and through major tantrums.

The story is he wanted her to sell kettle-corn at festivals and fairs instead of paintings.

She called him a narcissist.

After they split she showed me emails from him where he called her a selfish little girl that thought only of herself. His story was of her entitlement, shallowness, and disregard for other people. She showed me emails from his friends to her where they couldn’t believe what she was saying about her ex-husband and calling her horrible things.

The story was she was spreading rumors and gossip about her ex in their circle of friends.

I never doubted her.

Frankly, I never believed her ex-husband or the emails from his friends. I just couldn’t believe this innocent, pure, loving, and beautiful woman that brought my heart alive would lie.

I just assumed toxic masculinity and bitterness on their part and my kitten being unfairly maligned.

As I wrote to her ex-husband after he contacted me, “She left you because you treated her like crap and it had nothing to do with me.”

All these years later, everything looks different. The stories are now just stories.

I don’t believe her the way I did before. Which is good. I thought she was perfect and tried to treat her that way.

This idea of perfection never gave her any room either.

On more than one occasion I realize she was trying to tell me something and because I was caught up in a desire to protect the status quo I never gave her room to be honest either about her frailties and wounds.

I understand the how and why people tell the stories and where they come from. I understand what was behind my willingness to believe them.

I now know what it feels like to be the monster of the fish stories she pedals as she recycles the stories that worked before. When this first started I just refused to believe she would lie, to the utter annoyance of my friends that had first hand experience with her manipulations. I constantly defended every abusive action. I made excuse after excuse for her. I minimized her actions from spreading rumors and lies to keeping my things. Repeatedly, I explained away her actions as a hurt person hurting me back.

However, recently I was confronted by evidence of what I already knew but wouldn’t admit. As a result, I couldn’t deny her role any longer. I wasn’t angry. I simply said what needed said, shrugged off her behaviors and moved on with my life.

It makes me incredibly sad I was so quick to judge her ex-husband, her sisters, or high school boyfriend based on her stories. My behavior speaks volumes about my arrogance and judgemental nature and how willing I am to believe a woman when she cries foul.

As I told someone this week, one of the consequences of this experience is I am far more skeptical of women like Dr. Ford, Tara Reid, or any women I hear that is accusing someone of abuse.

It just never occured to me, my X would lie to get what she wanted.

I keep saying that out loud because my heart keeps making excuses for her and my shame wants to turn the blame inward. However, just as my lying about K wasn’t about my X, her lying wasn’t about me.

Recently, the Good Doctor and I sussed through more of my X’s and her Flying Monkey Squad’s recent nonsense, I said, “I ignored all those years of counseling and Al-Anon when I decided to love my X. I really thought we were different. I really believed I was special to her and as a result I ignored all the red flags.”

The Good Doctor responded, “You were special because you fed her ego what it needed and she fed yours.”

I know now that for sometime prior to the reveal she was keeping her own secrets. I have experienced the consequences of her lying repeatedly over the last thirty two months. I know now that as far back as the first month we were together she was sandbagging resentments. I know now she was picking her patsies long before we ended.

I keep saying this, but I never believed C would lie. I never believed she had secrets. I never believed she would behave this way. I always believed she was a better human being than me.

As such, I never questioned anything my kitten said to me.

As a result I ended up living in a box.