Remember when Britney Spears buzzed all her hair off and went totally nuts for a while? Well….
Yeah I know, I shaved my head at least 8 months ago at this point. But the shaving my head isn’t so much the imagery I’m trying to conjure, more the going totally nuts part. Maybe more specifically, an obscenely short lived marriage. Mine made it 7 months, how about you? Two weeks shy of dating for 4 years and a few months shy of being best friends for 8 years. I walked away from my marriage.
I walked away from my future completely. It’s not like I don’t understand that I can get a new future. Believe me, with every diagnosis I have to reinvent parts of me to move forward in my life. But I never thought this would be a future I would walk away from. I had a husband who despite being dreadfully human; loved me and tried to take care of me, family that is ALWAYS there, professors who were possibly willing to work with my health conditions, an actual decision about what I want to do for a living (if I can hold a job that is), even knowing I am infertile I was comfortable with my next steps I was taking to make a family. I had every part of my life moving forward. Yet somehow I was still drowning and I hadn’t seen any shore yet. I’ve realized, that when it came down to it, I didn’t have any of those life thingies on lockdown. Starting with what was inside my own head all the way to what was going on with him in front of my eyes.
He needed help. Instead of helping himself, he placed me in the role of a parent practically, forcing me to carry him as he ever so quickly was spiraling into the Doldrums. Holding him up was like trying to keep the sand from falling between your fingers after a wave splashes over your hands. Not to mention my hands can only take so much before they cramp up;) –Spoonie joke!
He was so very scarily violent before medications. Only a few of our friends had seen him like this and never any of his family. The friends who had to sleep over in blankets outside my locked bedroom door to keep him from taking the door off it’s hinges to get to me while I was sleeping. Friends who would stay for days, because it wasn’t safe to leave me alone with him or him alone with himself for that matter. But once the medications started to work, he became somewhat functional. Someone who could even-out from his erratic emotions and behavior at times. He became a friend again. I still walked on eggshells, but I didn’t have to have protection outside the relationship anymore.
He prevented me from being able to be me, when the person you are with forever is supposed to strengthen the things that make you you. That was still a problem.
I’ve known I am polyamorous since I was in High school. I wasn’t sexually active until after High school, this gave me a number of years to understand what I felt about this. I knew part of what I was losing myself in with husband was denying the poly part of me. (I must point out that marriage does NOT affect the ability to be poly) Husband and I had always had an agreement that we would be poly, (I, already being so when he met me, and he was going to work on it for himself) but we needed to give each other some focus for awhile as per my policy with every new relationship. Awhile was supposed to be months and it turned into 3 and 1/2 years. Not kidding. With my health issues and husband learning to be my caregiver throughout the flareups and downs, his mental health issues coming to the surface, me having to go on Chemo, and our struggles with becoming adults in the outside world; there was never a good time to start moving our relationship into poly. But he did finally make a deadline after he proposed. I told him I had to be able to start moving into poly life again or I had to consider he wasn’t who I was supposed to be with. I thought that the marriage was a wonderful time for him to understand that he was my primary and another person would never be the reason he could lose me. He seemed to feel this would cement his “ownership” of me. I unfortunately didn’t realize this was how he saw it at the time. He set a date for a year after engagement to start opening the relationship and date other people. When that date rolled around he seemed like he had been hit by a semi truck. He even implied we hadn’t discussed it, ever!? Luckily I was able to get him to admit the bullshit behind that argument, originally anyway. Now that we are separated he is saying all sorts of things to previous mutual friends.
That’s the way break ups work though right? Especially as a girl with mostly male friends… They mostly sided with him. But that also tells me they are believing him when they’re told by husband that I would do particular not nice things, very nonfactual things interestingly enough. Stuff that if you know me you’d look at anybody suggesting them with a funny look. But apparently these friends didn’t actually know me, cause they sure seem to be believing his victim claiming nonsense. Yet they won’t believe me (other than the few who have seen him on the edge with his mental disorder) about his being mean or violent. Decidedly, could they have ever actually been my friends? It still hurts to feel this isolated when I was a victim of domestic violence, yet no one is willing to see him as an aggressor. To the point where they’d rather blame the victim as a liar.
I feel like I’m a stalled car in the center lane of a highway, trying to figure out which fork I take next, to actually get to any destination at this point.
I now definitively can say I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I know what I was doing, with him in my life, was worse for me, but at least I had a map to follow then. Now I’m struggling to understand what I actually lost when my back was turned so that I never actually saw it. Like the Silence in DOCTOR WHO, I always forgot unless I was looking right at it.
The biggest factors:
Being infertile- I always planned to be a Mom. I want to adopt so badly, always have. But I want to see what carrying a life feels like. Having lost so much in my life, having had so much of my self die inside me, it’s become extremely important to me to feel my body make life not take anymore of mine away.
Being a Burden
Not getting school done— I legitimately only have two excuses for not getting my work done. My frequently difficult health issues and my husband’s inability to do anything “adult life related” to take care of himself. When I had to help with his homework, his class scheduling, his doctor’s appointments, his, his, his…. etc. When in the world was I supposed to have time to work on my own work? Especially when the only times I wasn’t busy taking care of his real world stuff was because I was laid up in bed not in any condition to do anything but request help for even the smallest things (ex. picking up my water glass beside me so I can drink, it would get that bad).
Becoming socially isolated— Yeah, I know. That’s something I said I wouldn’t let happen again. That’s how my abusive ex got me under his control, why would I ever let myself be vulnerable like that again? Because when it comes down to it, I have to trust to love; and I really wanted the chance to love this man. So when he didn’t like me going out without him, because “what if something happened they can’t take care of you right,” I willingly conceded to his judgement. But in the back of my head I didn’t realize at the time, I was only doing this to prevent any “punishment” I would “deserve” otherwise. I was perpetuating the Abuse cycle myself. I didn’t stand up for what I wanted out of fear of the consequences. When did I become someone who was afraid of the consequences? What level of emotional, mental, or physical pain did it take for me to finally fold? Because I sure don’t remember the exact incident.
Feeling worthless— I still can’t shake that feeling of worthlessness that has been creeping up my spine all of these years. It doesn’t help that he would remind me regularly in much more clever wording; that I am indeed worthless and dependent on him. Even though he couldn’t even pick up his medications on his own!? When he was feeling worthless he did everything he could think of (not usually consciously) to tear me down until I felt the same way, brothers in arms I suppose? Well I didn’t want to be held in drowning arms any longer.
Still being abused— On some level I knew I married an abusive guy. Under no fault of his own is he like this though. Before you judge him, you have to understand, it’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He didn’t mean to ever be cruel and rarely remembered much of the cruelty afterward. Such are the symptoms with his disease. But to find out he is doing “so much better” medically and the way he was treating me wasn’t doing better… started to be a wake up call for me. This cycle was too unhealthy to live in forever. If he was unwilling to make a solid daily effort toward bettering his mental health for his own benefit and mine I couldn’t stick around and wait to see if I’d get suicidal in turns along with him. But maybe that’s what he wanted? He has certainly implied that before. Would that have “justified it all” for him? Probably not, it would have just given him another way to self-hate. Which is the last thing I wanted since I really was looking for the confident nonvolatile man that I was friends with 8 years ago. I knew after the disease was triggered he would never be the same. Not being nice to me so that my days consist of walking on eggshells and not being safe wasn’t part of the bargain for me.
Being Poly— He wanted all the bells and whistles like you see with a new toy in a commercial. But he didn’t want to deal with actually having to assemble a new toy first. He didn’t seem to understand that there’s a lot more trust and work that goes into a multi-partner relationship than most mono relationships (not because they don’t also need it granted). He loved the lip-speak all about being poly and swinging, he didn’t love the reality. That would be why I resent this fact coming out so late in the game. He wanted to be poly or so he always told me. Until I got to be poly too, then what he wanted did a pretty big reversal. When it came down to it monogamy was so ingrained into husband’s head he didn’t know how to be or think any other way. Before I asked to be allowed to get rid of any OPP rules it was just an acknowledgeable permission to cheat on his part. He enjoyed these liberties immensely. But when I wanted to be allowed to play without him like he could without me the ingrained belief that it’s still cheating reared it’s ugly head. He didn’t know how to think outside the guilt-driven patterns of his belief in monogamy and took it out on me. That’s ok, there’s nothing wrong with being mono, but I wish he’d figured it out a little earlier along in the relationship. I wouldn’t have poured all of me into him then. I wouldn’t have given him every weakness I have as a weapon. I wouldn’t have done a lot of things actually, there are even more things though, I would have done.
That’s what really kills me. Realizing that I stepped back into the abuse cycle when I started dating him, even though I’d been climbing the ladder out of the “abused women’s well” rather steadily at that point. Somehow he triggered me right back into it. To the point where I passed up opportunities that ranged from mildly entertaining to most likely life changing. I wouldn’t be who I am today without having been through what I went through with Husband. But who would I be?