I. Just. Can’t.

****WARNING-RARE, BUT MAJOR, RANT AHEAD!!****

I have my political views, my opinions and my certain leanings. I will not discuss them here. I will not discuss conservative vs. liberal, left vs. right or republican vs. democrat. I will not address policy or issues or platforms. I want to discuss right vs. wrong. Because it is starkly apparent. Because there is something much more critical that is going on in politics these days. . .and much more devastating to us as a nation.

Sex, Lies, Videotapes, Scandal, Cover-Ups. . . Power. This is now politics in America, and yes, there have always been some of these elements. The problem is that now, NOW, this is all there is. There is no decency, no honor, no goodness.

I am ashamed and deeply saddened. I am concerned for future generations and the moral decline that we are experiencing as a society. I am sickened by the callous and crude rhetoric that we are being barraged by on a daily basis because of the total lack of adult behavior by the candidates, the media, the pundits, the campaigns and certain supporters. It is ENOUGH!

I have wondered if, because of my own history of betrayal trauma, that I am simply more sensitive to the circus of deception, gaslighting, obfuscation, sexual misconduct and co-dependency that is currently our “Election Season.” But, no. It’s not just me. Friends and family who just don’t happen to be married to a sex addict, also find it disgusting and frankly, quite unbelievable. It is beyond the pale and I am tired of being triggered by story after story of sitting presidents who “may have” raped someone or who have cheated on the current candidate while in the White House. I am disgusted by allegations that a man “may have” used his position of power to systematically grope and assault women because of ego and entitlement issues. I cannot tolerate one more “leak” of information about cover-ups, emails, pay-for-plays, hot mics, religious bigotry, or sexual innuendo.

Is this truly what we have become as a nation? One giant tabloid?

We are a country of over three hundred million people. Out of that three hundred million, we have chosen two…two people. One of which will represent the rest of us for the next four to eight years to the rest of the world. We have chosen possibly the worst TWO people to do so. . .out of THREE HUNDRED MILLION!

It is no wonder, really, that pornography use, infidelity, sex addiction, casual one-nighters, rape, sexual abuse, child porn, prostitution, sex trafficking, divorce. . . are all on the rise or at epidemic levels. It is out of control. Men that believe misogyny is a myth or engage in the degradation and debasing of women should be called out and educated. Women that engage in pornography for “pleasure”  or turn a blind eye to sexual misconduct, likewise, are responsible for the breakdown of our moral fabric. Anyone, ANYONE, seeking to insert themselves into a coupleship for self-gratification, or seeking that gratification outside of their own committed relationship is responsible for our moral decline. Yes, I recognize addictions and trauma and issues. But I also recognize self-control, agency and personal choice. Help is available. We all have a basic knowledge of right and wrong. Fix yourself. Help fix our society.

We are destroying ourselves from within. Things like ISIS, drug cartels, global warming…they cannot compare to the power and potential to destroy us as we ourselves possess. Our own inability to achieve moral clarity in a time such as this,  is a harbinger of self-destruction.

America. . .there is nothing right about this election. We’ve got it all wrong. 😥

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This is Will’s nasty old Ford F-150. I rarely stepped foot in that truck. It was always trashed, it smelled and it was just. . .I don’t know. . .icky. I found out a few months ago that he had driven around hookers in that truck. Parked it front and center at local massage parlors. Picked up the Ho to bring her to his hotel for sex. Driven the Skank for an overnight sex trip. Gotten a BJ and had sex with Skank in that truck. That truck was gross. It was good enough for Will and his sluts. It fit him and his life. . .then.

There is a saying I grew up with and have pretty much lived by my whole life.

“Use it up, wear it out.
Make it do, or do without.”

I realized that I have done that, not only with material things in my life, but with some of my relationships. Particularly with my marriage. I have “made do” with what I had; long, long past the time it was used up and worn out. I had done everything…EVERYTHING…possible that I, alone, could do to make it last. And even then, refused to throw it out. Last year, after D-day, I faced the reality that at long last, after the futility of all my efforts, it was time to “do without.” I filed for divorce. I knew, without any doubt, that this thing, this marriage, had no further use or purpose. It had become something that was old, beyond repair, unworkable. . . Garbage. Truth be told, it wasn’t just the marriage that could be given this description. It is how I felt about myself. After all, why else would my husband obsess over, sleep with, fantasize about such disgusting women as Skank, and the Ho, and Miss Piggy? As well as sleazy hookers, diseased strippers and “massage” parlor “hostesses?” This was my state of mind, this was my self-image and the torture that became my every day existence. Amazing isn’t it? What a spouse’s sick addiction can do to one’s entire psychological well-being?

I realized that not everything holds its value or even has value and had come to the conclusion that my marriage and Will were valueless. I was, as you regular readers know, devastated. I was also getting some very bad professional input and just coming out of the intense fog of CPTSD. Now, I have never been one to save plastic bags, reuse ziplock baggies or make cool-whip containers the new Tupperware, but I am generally frugal and I believe in repairing and maintaining the things I purchase rather than replacing at the first sign of disrepair or malfunction. Hence my 37 year marriage! So, this was my dilemma. Clearly, the relationship was not worth saving. But maybe the marriage was. . .

I began to consider the possibility of something new. No, not something-EVERYTHING.  There was really nothing in our relationship that was worth saving. It was well and truly over. Our marriage, however, had a fledgling hope. The hope of repair. Life. Recovery. I made a choice then to try a new way. I postponed, then dismissed the divorce plea. I instead insisted on a post-nup. We sold the old skankified house. I insisted on new construction. Will’s decrepit skanky truck was sold and he drives a new (to him) truck. One that suits him now. One that is good enough for me, and us, and much, much too good for women like Skank. I have replaced the sad, negative and fearful Leigh. I am now the more confident badass Leigh who can live with (or without!) a recovering Will. I have let go of my old mindset that everything is worth saving no matter the work or effort and instead, have become more discerning in selecting that which is truly valuable. In order to do this, I also found that I had to become incredibly, frighteningly vulnerable. I know and accept that I can and most likely will be hurt. But, I am aware and willing to take that risk for something new and better. Kathy Headlee Miner said this: “To have an OPEN heart, you must be willing to GIVE your heart to the things that BREAK your heart.” She was speaking of her work with children in Zambia. For me, I have applied it to my marriage. My marriage broke my heart. I believe and I fervently hope, that my NEW marriage will help heal it.

I fully recognize that, sometimes, things are beyond hope or repair and no longer worth the effort. Will’s truck was like that. No amount of spit and polish, no seat covers or paint job could make that nasty truck shine again. Not after his behavior and former self was so symbolized by its very existence. In that situation, a replacement was needed…

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This is what Will drives now. New (to him), clean, unsullied by skankiness. Everything works and functions properly. This is what I want in my “new marriage.” No more hidden filth, no more dirty secrets, no more dysfunction. I have discarded my relationship with Will. It wasn’t real or valid. We are beginning a completely new one. As for our marriage? Now, that is a thirty-seven year old gem that has value. That is something we can work on together too…to make it new.

Lost in “If Only Land”

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This last week or so has been difficult and I have isolated terribly. Getting out of bed has been a major feat. The depression has been heavy and so oppressive. Definitely NOT in a good place. I saw my therapist today and we discussed why. I knew why, I just couldn’t seem to get out of it. I was stuck in “If Only.” This is the worst possible place for me.

If Only always, and I mean ALWAYS, leads to what my Meadows group called “The ShittyPityCommittee” and that is what has happened in true character this time. I have been engulfed in the woe-is-me’s and the sucks-to-be-Leigh’s all week. And the hard truth is that I have done it to myself.  I ALLOWED others’ behavior to impact my recovery process. I ALLOWED others’ words to hurt me and CHOSE to be offended by what their feelings were towards me.  Knowing that I could not, cannot,and never will control what other people say and do should be a no brainer when these things happen. But, alas, I am human. I am now giving myself permission to BE human.

The truth is that sometimes I do feel sorry for myself…and that’s OK. I’ve been through and am still going through a lot of shit that I did not cause and could not have prevented. The truth is that I will sometimes find  myself in “If Only” land.  I just can’t allow myself to acquire a visa for a long-term stay.  What I have trouble with is when I dip into these doldrums for just a moment and then life pulls a fast one by dumping extra garbage on me before I have a chance to bounce out of it. I get sucker punched and it is tempting to allow myself just one more “if only” or a couple more minutes of sucks-to-be-me. That is when it gets dangerous. And that is what happened this past week.

It began with the still inexplicable shunning I received from my daughter. It was so hurtful and her words were so accusatory and they hit their mark, as I am sure she intended. I knew, intellectually, that they were HER words and didn’t reflect my own truth or reality. They still hurt. Then, I heard through my family grapevine that Will had finally realized that the divorce was for real and that it was to go through as filed. I was told that he was OK with it and willing to just move on. Now, this is how screwed up I am…That should have been a relief for me. I mean, I am the one who filed, I have been the one trying to get him to work with me to get the house on the market etc…but, no. It hurt…physically. My heart felt like someone was squeezing it. What did I expect? I don’t know!! Maybe for him to come to the house and BEG me for forgiveness! To cry and plead with me to not go through with it! To profess his undying love and pledge his fidelity and lifelong commitment to me! To tell me that he couldn’t stand the distance between us and needed to work together on our marriage! TO FIGHT FOR ME AND FOR US!!!! But, no. He just said basically, “Yeah, sure, Ok.” It felt like:  Just another betrayal.   Just another way that I have let myself down.   Just one more fantasy that was never true and can never be true.

Just a confirmation that Will is not the man I thought he was, and worse, he is never going to be the man I need him to be. I think that is what is the most devastating. I wonder where I ever got the idea that he was or would be? Why did I think that he could think for himself and do the hard things life requires? He has never followed that path. He has always either done what others wanted him to do, what he believed others wanted from him or what he wanted others to believe about him. He has never been able to manage his own reality and be truthful about his own wants and needs other than his own selfishness. Again….this is pain that was brought on by my own wishes, desires and plain ‘ole delusion. If only Will would stop being so self-centered in his recovery. If only Will would try to make our marriage work. If only Will would, just once, make me a priority instead of himself. If only……well….you see how this goes.

“If Only”doesn’t get me anywhere except a one way ticket to the place where depression is a lifestyle and pity-parties are the main form of leisure activity.  I am trying to leave If Only land forever and I just don’t know why it is so hard. It is really a horrible, terrible, very bad place.

 

Broken Family, Broken Heart

Infidelity family

Before I went to inpatient I was struggling so hard to maintain my happy self. I made sure to put on my happy face for my kids and grandkids because I knew they were hurting. Despite my devastation, I was trying to be strong for everyone because that is what I have always done. For the most part, I think I did pretty well. Until I didn’t.

I have done my best to protect my kids my whole life. They do not know about my abusive father…not the extent. They don’t know about the beatings, the belt, the rages, the bruises and welts and scars. They don’t know that their dear little white-haired grandma stood by and let it happen…not to her two other children..she held them close to protect them while only I was being “disciplined.” They love their grandma and never knew their abusive grandpa. That’s how it should be. They remember that I was gone a lot when they were little. They don’t remember that I was gone because I worked three jobs to pay for Will’s gambling debts and to put food on the table for them. I didn’t know at that time that gambling wasn’t his only addiction. They don’t remember when Will’s alcoholism turned him into a blackout drunk and he became violent. They thought that I was just clumsy and fell down the stairs and broke my ribs, or tripped and fell into the wall getting a black eye etc.. They think that sometimes they were woken late at night because their dad was just being loud and silly because he was in a good mood–that’s what I told them. They don’t remember when Will got courts martialled and lost rank (for the second time) that our family was made fun of and then pitied, and that my business suffered and I lost the trust of people I had known for a long time. Guilt by association. They don’t know about all the years of emotional abandonment, neglect, gaslighting, shame, humiliation, guilt, belittlement and degradation Will had perpetrated on me behind closed doors. They have never needed to know. They don’t need to remember. I shielded them from all of that. I did my job as their mom and I did what my parents did not do for me….I protected them. I provided a happy, mostly carefree childhood and happy memories for them.

And now….it has come back to haunt me. Because they don’t know, they don’t like the real me. This me that is broken and struggling and so very hurt. They don’t want to be around me. They can’t understand the humanity of the mother they knew to be so strong and who took care of everyone and everything. They don’t want to understand. What they understand is that I am leaving Will when he is sad and struggling and working so hard to overcome his addiction. None of which is his fault. I am not given the space I need to cry or be upset or, let’s face it, shattered. If I want that space, I have to be away from them. They cannot be around me. They can’t handle me being “sad.”  My oldest daughter sent me a text the other night. Out of the blue…I hadn’t spoken to her since the day I got back from AZ. I can only guess that she found out from Will that I was going thru with the divorce.

“Mom, I love you. You are my mother. But I cannot and will not allow you to be victimized vs. being a victim. There is survivorship and there is resiliency. You have a choice. Even if you don’t know how yet, you get to choose. As long as you continue choosing being completely innocent in all things, being merely a survivor, and continually victimized, I cannot continue a relationship with you. Forgive the text…it is my only safe option.”

Yeah…so. I tried to find out what she expects from me, but of course, then I was accused of being confrontational and not listening. She hung up on me. I can only assume that my daughters have seen that I am no longer willing to hide the real Will from them or how his actions have changed me…they are grown women now…and they don’t like it. The fact that I am leaving Will to figure out life on his own has upset them and I am heartless for doing so in their opinion. They believe that they have been hurt by his actions far more than have I…after all, they were cheated out of precious time with him and he lied to them too. Will has hurt his entire family. He has destroyed so much. But the fact is, that HE has done this. I have not done this to my precious family. I was the victim of his infidelity and deceit and his dirty STD…my children were not. The difference is that I WAS a victim but am no longer. I will no longer be victimized…not by my mother, my husband and certainly not by my children. But, I can no longer be responsible for their protection. I now have to protect myself and recover so that I can have a real life. It appears I will be doing so on my own, without the support of the people I love most in the world but I will still do it. I hope that someday my children can love me as unconditionally as I have always loved them. But, if not, I will know that I have loved them and protected them and done the very best that I possibly could for them. I may not be enough for them, but I am enough. I have to be.

Reality

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Sometimes, we get a glimpse of reality, sometimes it is more like a hot slap in the face. Mostly for me, lately, it has been a steady and constant “coming to” that has been painful but enlightening, gut-wrenching but freeing.

I had a long talk with my therapist yesterday via phone. She wanted to catch up with me on my AZ stay and also on some of Will’s latest antics. She wants me to go over the safety plan and modify it in areas I feel necessary. This sounds like an easy task to simply add to or take away the things I would or wouldn’t like to see happen regarding communication going forward…..Not so much. This is where reality comes in.

You see, in speaking with my therapist, I got some reality checks regarding Will that I hadn’t known before. Keeping in mind that my therapist and his therapist are released legally to discuss us with each other, I mentioned to my therapist that I felt the safety plan was unusually strict and questioned if that was because Will was a worse case than most people. She disclosed that his was the most egregious case she had ever come across…so yes…the worst. She admitted that in light of several of his actions, even in the last couple of months, that his CSAT didn’t think he could work with him much longer as he was “just not getting it” and had little hope that he ever would. This is why the safety plan was so stringent. Not for punishment or to cause stress in any way, but to keep me safe from Will’s control, manipulation and further damage. Whoa….That is my reality. It is called a SAFETY plan for a reason.

I did some reading…OK, OK…a LOT of reading last night about sociopathology as it relates to addiction. Yes….this is also my reality. I think this is why Will doesn’t “get it” and why he likely never will. My reality is that I not only married an unavailable man because that was who I thought men were (like my abusive adoptive father), I also married a man who was mentally ill (a sociopath) who is incapable of feeling (like my pathologically schizophrenic adoptive father) and who didn’t understand the concept of abandonment of others-only to self (like my adoptive mother). In other words, I chose the perfect storm of a man who my dysfunctional childhood set me up for and stayed with him for 37 years because I didn’t know anything different. Well…reality sucks.  It is just so, so sad. What a colossal waste of 37 years of my life. That is the reality that hurts so much. To have tried so hard, believed for so long…all for nothing. But, maybe with this clarity of thought, I can press forward towards a better reality.

In other news, I got a new date for my final orders hearing on our divorce. This one will not be postponed.

That, too, is my reality and I am profoundly sad with it.