What a weekend. Friday was the Nebraska game. I made homemade nachos (and killed it…they were perfect). Saturday Brad had to be in Lincoln for a soccer game at 9am. We got back home at 2pm. I worked out, bathed and rested for a few minutes. We met some friends for pizza and then went to the UNO soccer game. Home in time to watch SNL (season opener). Sunday had to get Dennis to a swim meet for warm ups at 8am. Came home for a quick lunch and then went to the movies. Had a 5pm soccer game for Brad, made homemade chicken noodle soup, and then to bed. I am exhausted from my weekend.
I ended up texting with Monica off and on. It is nice to download my brain to someone new. We might get together for a few drinks later in the week. I’m not looking for anything there except having a friend. They are in short supply these days.
I’m sleeping better and the obsessive thoughts about Michelle seem to be subsiding. The last time I visited my therapist, we talked about her continued relationship with the boys. I was honest and admitted the reason I capitulated and allow her to maintain her relationship is because she was upset. My therapist is right, there are all kinds of complications that can come up in the future that will be more harmful to the boys than losing their relationship with Michelle. Here is what I am sending to Michelle in a letter and email.
I’ve been working with my therapist for 10 weeks now. I’ve come to trust her and respect her. She pointed out all kinds of potential complications that, net, will be more harmful to the boys than the loss of their relationship with you. At this point in your life, you aren’t interested in any version of the world where you might need to grow. You are stagnating. My boys deserve people who can take objective stock of things and make adjustments that are in their best interest. Right now, you aren’t capable of that. I hope, some day you will be. Going forward, I do not want you to be a part of my children’s lives. With the selfishness, entitlement, and manipulative behavior you displayed regarding my health insurance, I won’t risk you not honoring my wishes as it relates to my children. I am going to cut off your contact via text, phone, and social media. If I had to sum it up in one sentence it would be this: I don’t trust you to be objective and act in Dennis and Brad’s best interests if what is in their best interest conflicts with what you want.
P.S. I really do hope you are able to change and learn how to evolve and grow. I miss how happy we all were together as a family. I can see it now, as we were…our breaking up was inevitable. I love you.
I sent it this afternoon in a letter. I will send it to her via email on Thursday as well. I want to make sure she receives it.
A text message I sent to Michelle:
The opposite of love is apathy. You said that. I’m fairly certain you don’t care about me further than my health insurance anymore but I still felt compelled to send this to you. I’ll make it the last thing I share with you…okay?
I would really appreciate your thoughts on this post. Please leave a comment:
I had a revealing conversation with my therapist yesterday. We discussed boundaries. At first I had no idea what she was talking about. She asked me a question. “Why do you always feel the need to make everyone happy?” that made me anxious, in fact I feel anxious thinking about it right now. She asked me what “I wanted the template for the future to look like?” I had no idea what she was talking about.
She talked about the pitfalls of thinking like this. You end up losing yourself and it breeds resentment. People take advantage of you (not intentionally…it’s just the construct of the relationship, they express discomfort and you act to alleviate that without any regard to whether or not you should. They get used to this and naturally fall into the behavior). I can see that with Michelle. In fact she just tried to manipulate me into keeping her on my health care Tuesday night. Here is the texting exchange:
Michelle: Is there any way I could stay on your insurance for another year? It affects my life so much having good insurance. Please think about it.
Me: The last time we discussed it was that Friday we were out all night. We were going to work on ourselves thinking there was a chance we would then have a possibility of being a family again. I know now we are never going to be a family again. I accept it isn’t what you want. You’re now asking me to continue to provide your insurance?
Michelle: I’m asking you as a person that cares about me. You know how this affects me. It doesn’t affect you at all.
Me: That statement makes me feel like you’re trying to manipulate my feelings so you can use me.
Michelle: Well I feel like you kicking me off it is just pay back.
I had to explain to her we are lying to my employer about being domestic partners and I could get into trouble.
Realizing my desire to fix things allows people to take advantage of me pisses me off. Reading that exchange with Michelle and how she blatantly tried to manipulate me pisses me off. Her sense of entitlement pisses me off. I know having her off the insurance is the right thing to do. I know her attempt at manipulating my feelings is awful. What is most upsetting; I almost capitulated. Logically I know I shouldn’t and she’s being selfish but I still feel really guilty
Interesting note…her attempt at manipulation is right out of my ex-wife’s play book.
it is cathartic
to apologize. more so
to be forgiven.
I’m trying to use the steps in the 12 Step Program that aren’t so full of God: 2, 4, 5, and 8-10…so half of them, the rest are bullshit. The biggest theme is making a personal inventory and admitting to other people your short comings. The 9th step is making amends to those you have wronged. There is a woman (Monica) I dated for a few months I needed to make amends to. I found her on Facebook and sent her the following message:
Hey. This is Joseph from like a million years ago. I don’t want to bother you (don’t feel like you need to reply if it’s weird). It’s been so long since we saw each other and I’m sure you’ll have a hard time remembering what I’m talking about but I wanted to apologize for the way we ended things. You deserved better and I’m sorry. I hope you and your kids are well!
She replied a few hours later and we ended up talking on Facebook Messenger for a quite a while. She still had some hurt there and we spoke, candidly, about everything. She said it felt a lot better having the explanation even if it was 4 years later. I feel better having done it. So much time has gone by since we dated. It was nice to chat with her. She asked if we could keep in touch. I’m super low on friends right now. It would be nice to have an extra one even if it’s electronic.
your life is simpler,
now that you are rid of me.
Mine is the same (only:
eventually hopeful) day-to-day.
you are not part of it.
of letting her go is hard
to come to terms with.
what was familiar
is harmful now. make what is
I can sum up this weekend in one word, boring. I read, went to the movies, wrote, exercised, walked the dog, and worked around the house. I was marking time. It was excruciating. I was glad to go to work today. The first time I was genuinely pleased since Friday was when I picked up Brad for school this morning. Those 10 minutes were more fun than the entire damn weekend. I’m reminded of a quote (I’m embarrassed to say which movie it’s from), “I’m alone but I’m not lonely.” I aspire to that, being alone but not lonely. This past weekend I was both.
I’m only going to have Dennis until he is 16. Then he’ll be more involved with his friends. Brad will be 16 in 3 ½ years. I can feel it coming. I need to find something meaningful to do when I don’t have the boys. What would that be? 9 weeks ago it was Michelle and our life together. We were so content and happy. I’m 44 years old now. The prospect of me finding someone I’m that connected to is rapidly diminishing.
I was driving home from the coffee shop I was reading at and the muscle memory tried to kick in. I wanted to stop off at Herbe Sainte for a delicious manhattan or three or four. So I did…except I didn’t have the manhattan, I just ordered a bite to eat and read my book. I made the craving about the place not the booze. I’m forming new habits and they aren’t about alcohol. By the way…their meat board is amazing!!!
we want you with us
but you are so far behind.
please catch up, hurry!!
the resentment I
felt was not real. it was fear
wearing a disguise.
Michelle sent me a text a few minutes after midnight wishing me a happy birthday. Of course I’m reading all sorts of things into that. I just responded with “Thank you”.
I can see now I’ve really hurt my chances at reconciling with her. Thinking back to the letter I sent her on the 18th, where I said I have gotten so far ahead of her…of course she is resistant to everything I say. She hasn’t processed anything. I’m seven weeks into therapy and sobriety. Emotionally, Michelle is still in Arizona, nine weeks ago when my drinking problem and resultant controlling behavior became so evident to her. She hasn’t moved beyond that. She won’t be able to until she starts therapy.
I’m a different person. No, that’s not correct. I’m the same person…I’m just a better version. I understand what drove my drinking. I understand what created my need for control. I understand all anxiety touches and impacts in my life. Knowing helps me: not drink, squelch (I love that word) my controlling behavior, and manage my anxiety. I’m going to continue with therapy and continue to get stronger and healthier.
To say Michelle is resistant to therapy would be an understatement. Until she starts, any time we spend together will be fraught. It will be detrimental to any chance of us finding each other again. I’ll be looking to the future wanting to heal and she will be angry and resentful of what happened in the past. She has said she loves me and wants to be with me. She has also said she doesn’t see how that can happen. We can’t address the desire to be together and reconcile it with the anger and resentment she has until she gets help. As much as I want to, I can’t spend time with her until she does. I have to be patient.
Thinking through this…I’m not resentful (anymore). I am afraid. I am afraid she’ll never catch up. I’m afraid she isn’t brave enough to grow. I’m afraid we’ll never be a family again.
Michelle just sent me a text asking if we could get together. She wanted to buy me a crème brulee for my birthday. I told her I have plans and can’t. I do have plans tonight but I could meet her. I really, really want to meet her but can’t. It will do more harm than good.
your anger is what’s
hurting us now. I am not
the problem anymore.
I had another great night of sleep. I didn’t wake until my alarm went off. This is the best rested I have felt since Michelle and I split up. My therapist commented (more to herself than me) the grief seems to be lifting. Is it fucked up that makes me sad? I’m not over Michelle but the severity of the loss is diminished. I guess it’s to be expected considering how much I’ve been working at therapy and my sobriety. I suppose I should say, good for me?
The boys seem to be doing really well. We are still laughing more since I quit drinking. They seem to be more at ease. Dennis and Michelle are going to start spending Tuesday afternoons together before his swim practice. I think it’ll be good. I know they miss each other.
Tomorrow is my birthday. Michelle wanted to get together and go out. I cancelled. I’m not interested in pretending everything is fine. It isn’t. I’m angry she hasn’t done anything with respect to her anger issues and panic attacks. I shouldn’t be around someone who makes me feel like shit. That’s what she has been doing. Everything I say is responded to with contempt. She won’t listen to me. She just waits for me to stop talking so she can tell me how much she resents me and how angry she is.
That’s enough about her. Let’s focus on something positive that doesn’t make me feel like shit. After I dropped the boys at their mother’s house I came home. I was considering going to the movies or watching some Game of Thrones while doing laundry. I thought what if I went to another AA meeting? What if I went to a discussion meeting? I like that I can go to these meetings and just listen. I might go to one on Friday after I have dinner. I’m going to start going to meetings a few times a week. I don’t have to buy into all that God bullshit to derive value. Dennis, Brad, and Michelle are the thing I’m giving my drinking up to.
I wish I could leave Michelle out because she doesn’t give a shit about me. To get through all of this, I need to be honest with myself. It’s not just the boys…I’m doing this for her too.
I feel it lift. the
weight isn’t as burdensome.
I can bear it now.
I went to an AA meeting last night. I’m glad I did. I’m not sure it’s something I’m going to need to go to every day (they ask you to do 90 meetings in 90 days). I think going every other week, when I don’t have the boys will help. It was a “speaker meeting”. I found the stories inspiring. These are people whose lives have been profoundly impacted by alcohol. They have spent time in prison, lost careers, lost families…alcohol has hurt them so much more than me. In spite of all that, they managed to find and hold onto sobriety. There was a line of folks celebrating their “birthday” (the yearly anniversary of their sobriety). I want a “birthday”. I want it for my kids, for Michelle, and for myself. I only have 313 days left.
I got a copy of “the big book”. The first third is about the 12 step program. Every speaker talked about how “only through the grace of God, this program, and the fellowship (you all) have I stayed sober.” I don’t like the God part. It’s off putting. God isn’t going to get me sober, I am. God hasn’t helped me get through the last 7 weeks, not letting Dennis, Brad, and Michelle down has. I don’t know how to reconcile those. It may be that I just go for the inspirational stories. I’m going to attend a “discussion” meeting next and see what I think about it.
At the end of the meeting everyone joined hands and said The Lord’s Prayer. It reminded me of a dream I had Friday night. Michelle, the boys, and I were on a road trip. We were in the mountains. As we came around a bend in the road, I lost control of the vehicle and crashed through the guard rails driving off a massive cliff. We were falling. It was high enough that as we were falling we had time to realize we were going to die. We started saying The Lord’s Prayer. Michelle and I both reached back to hold the boys’ hands and I closed my eyes waiting for us to hit the ground. We didn’t die. The landing was soft, the Tahoe wasn’t damaged. I realized I needed to get us under control and stopped before we went over another cliff. I said to no one in particular, “are you fucking kidding me?” I think I said it out loud and it’s what woke me up. I was incredulous we had survived. I woke up after that.
Anyway…after the meeting, I cried when I got to my car. I felt/feel relief. I know I can do this. It’s not a matter of trying. It’s something I’m just going to do.
I called my parents on my way home from my AA meeting. My mom was glad I found it helpful. She told me my father thinks I’m wasting my time. He thinks I don’t need to it. He even challenged me Can’t he just be supportive? I’m not hurt. I’m frustratingly resigned. This is who he is.
Struggling to be
better is futile. It is
the same as before
This past Saturday evening I went bowling with the kids, their friends, and a buddy of mine. He and I bowled a few games but then went to the bar to talk. We talked, of course, about Kim and I. While we were talking I got this strong urge to drink and get hammered. Not do 5 shots in a row…no…to order a drink and talk with a friend and keep doing that until I’m done (done = good and tight). I’m upset thinking about it. It’s interesting, as it was happening, I felt tons of anxiety.
I’ve been working on an exercise with my therapist to help alleviate anxiety. I visualize a container, put the thing that is stressing me out in it, and close the container. I’ve only done it with racing thoughts about Kim so far. With her I visualize my journal, close it, and then place it in my container. It works. I did that with my craving to get drunk. Actually I did it with the stress I was feeling about wanting to get drunk. I imagined a bottle of vodka, I put the cork back in it, and then I placed the bottle into my container. It helped. I was able to do it while in the middle of a conversation with Jason. I had to do it a few times that evening but each time I felt better, I felt less stress.
Struggling to be better is like taking a trip to a sunny location only to realize it’s not as sunny as you had hoped. Except for small variations, it’s pretty much the same as the place you just left only you’re happier here than you were there. I still want to get there, this better place, I’m just realistic about what it is. I’m even resigned to being slightly disappointed.