Monday, I return to court for the final act. Well, at least I intend it to be the final act.
Hard to tell for sure until you get on stage. I don’t have any control over the other players and how they will act out. I’m practicing not responding to the nonsense of meaningless accusations built on the vindictive imagination of little girls.
I feel emotionally ambivalent about what happens Monday.
While I made mistakes in my relationship, I have owned those mistakes, made amends where I can, and invested myself into learning and growing through the experience. I’ve never made excuses or blamed Painter or Beatrix for my choices. They aren’t responsible for my actions, only theirs.
Frankly, I loved Painter as I experienced her, but love isn’t enough.
As I pour over details in prep for Monday, I’m reminded repeatedly of the undercurrent of entitlement we brought to this experience. Based on the emails and texts I received from strangers in the immediate aftermath of our separation I recognize Painter was setting the stage with another Patsy to end the relationship months before it ended. I appreciate how my mistakes simply gave her permission to do what she was planning on doing.
I see more clearly how Painter benefited from my role as her Hero. I see how I benefited from Heroing more clearly, too.
I wonder if she loved me or loved how I made her feel? Was I simply a means to an end as she transitioned away from her marriage?
What do my betrayal, secrets, and the escalating series of lies reveal about me and my approach to vulnerability, intimacy, and love?
I have so many questions, but courting answers is courting more confusion. It is courting pain.
What matters is what I did and, more significantly, why I did it. I cannot undo what is past, but if I embrace why I made these choices, I can practice the skills that align my intentions with the impact.
As I reread the article on narcissistic discarding and reflect one more time on the experiences from the last eight or so years, I sigh, shake my head, and realize I have everything I will ever need.
Everything else is just a story.