Hope?

the difference from

where I was – to now, gives me

hope for the future


8:00am

Yesterday, I was so upset and angry at Michelle with the horrible thing she was saying to me that I left work. She is consumed by anger and resentment (maybe hatred?). She kept landing these blows that were expertly placed for maximum damage. I wish I could say I didn’t try to do the same but that would be a lie. She is just so much better at it than I am. My heart isn’t in it. I mostly ended up trying to defend and explain myself. I’m pathetic!

I got in my car and just started yelling at no one in particular as I drove home. That lasted a good 10 minutes or so. After I blew off steam I decided I needed to get out of my head. I got home, did a tough 20 minute circuit work out, and immediately went for a 3 mile run. All told it took about an hour. When I got home from my run, Dennis and Brad were home. Brad and I talked for about an hour while his brother did his homework. Then the three of us went out for sushi down in the old market. We walked around talking, having fun, and ended up at a coffee shop for desert. We talked at length about Michelle and how they aren’t going to be seeing her for a while. They were/are both sad. I explained why it was for the best with an analogy:

When you pull off a band-aid, you can do it slowly and it doesn’t hurt as much but it hurts a lot longer. Or, you can quickly rip it off. It hurts at first but very soon stops. The way I see it (this is me telling them), we can either extend the pain because it seems easier (it isn’t) or just rip that band-aid off.

As we were driving home, Brad said he feels good about the decision. I asked why. He said he feels less stress (he suffers from anxiety and has a therapist) because he knows what is happening now. There is no longer any confusion about the status of Michelle and I. Uncharacteristically, Dennis chimed in and said he felt the same way and then said, “this was a really great night.” Brad agreed.

After her attacks the last two days, I know what I wrote to her in that letter (on Sept 18th) about being so much further ahead of her and being afraid she wouldn’t be able to catch up…it has come to pass. She doesn’t even think she needs to see anyone. I feel so sad. I need to focus on the positives: I’m healthy, I’m sober, I have honest/clear/loving lines of communication with my children, and I’m not overwhelmed by being sad like I was.

After dropping the boys off at their mother’s I went to the movies. When I got home, I went to bed and read for an hour. I am proud of myself. I left work just a mess: hurt, sad, and longing (I’m being honest, I am still wanting Michelle). Shortly after, I had worked out and was on the front porch laughing and talking with Brad. I turned my day around. I did that! I didn’t stew about things. I felt those awful emotions, I let them in, and then got rid of them doing what I know works: exercise, time with my kids, movies, and reading. Last night I slept like a baby. I have made so much progress.

I just realized, my go to thing when I am upset (like I was yesterday) was drinking (either alone or with a friend). That never entered into the realm of possible solutions to getting “out of my head”. That is progress!!!!!!!

 

A dust-up

11:00am

Michelle received my letter. A huge dust up ensued. I wish I hadn’t engaged but I did. She said a lot of awful, hurtful things (!again!). She made assertions that aren’t true, she insulted my integrity, and maligned me as a father. Here is the last punch she landed before I stopped texting:

Michelle: Your boys are screwed without me. Have fun with their crippling insecurities when they are older because nothing is good enough for Collette. You’re a terrible father!! I was their only champion.

She is awful. I am so upset right now!!

 

I was so upset with all she said, I wasn’t able to concentrate, so I left work early today.

You’re not worthy of them

8:30am

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.

Michelle,

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.

David

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.

Manipulative

I would really appreciate your thoughts on this post. Please leave a comment:

11:30am

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.

Happy birthday

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.


9:00am

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.


3:45pm

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.

 

It’s her anger

your anger is what’s

hurting us now. I am not

the problem anymore.


8:30am

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.

 

Resignation

she won’t acknowledge

she has work to do. why am

I trying so hard?


9:00am

Michelle and I had a bad fight Saturday afternoon. I called to talk to say hi and ended up talking about some resentment I (recently) had. She tried to turn it around like I was trying to control her. I wasn’t. I was simply giving voice to my feelings. I have always felt love was a behavior, not an emotion. She agreed. I told her I’m hurt she hasn’t gotten into therapy yet. She scheduled an appointment for October 5th (that is 12 weeks from when we broke up). I told her that spoke volumes about her commitment, or lack thereof. She interpreted this as me telling her what to do. I wasn’t. She refused to see what I said as an expression of my emotion…my hurt. No matter what I said she wouldn’t listen.

It feels like she’s stuck in this death spiral of anger and resentment. She is stuck in the past and what happened vs. the way things are now and into the future. She can’t see my actions for anything but controlling. She told me the difference between that long dinner we had on Friday (a lovely, tender night between us) and the following Thursday was Friday “she was in control…could express her feelings and I just listened.” The following Thursday I tried to talk about my feelings. She doesn’t want to hear my feelings. She doesn’t want to hear that I feel resentment that it will be 12 weeks after we broke up before she has her first meeting with a therapist. She doesn’t want to hear how that hurts me or how that hurts Dennis and Brad.

Right now, it’s not about me respecting her thoughts, feelings, or opinions because I do. Right now, it’s about Michelle being the only one who is allowed to say or do anything. She expects me to feel and say nothing unless it’s obsequious and apologetic. She doesn’t care about my feelings.

I think it is sinking in. Michelle isn’t going to try. She sees me as the only problem we have. She’s resentful, unforgiving, selfish, and hateful. She isn’t brave enough to look inward with a critical eye. It’s our death knell.

I feel sadness. I feel resignation. I’m fighting so hard to be a better man for my boys and for her. I can’t believe she won’t fight for us. I feel hurt. I do not feel hope. I slept better Saturday and Sunday nights than I have since we broke up. I guess resignation leads to less stress.

I can’t believe we’ve come to this.

Thanksgiving, I had this idea of doing “An Affair to Remember” in Chicago. Tell her I’ll be somewhere at noon the Friday after. Fucking stupid!!!

I would still jump if she said she’d take me back.

I am fucking pathetic!!


3:00pm

A letter I sent to Michelle:

Michelle,

The whole point of me sending these journal posts to you (The more insightful entries I have been mailing to Michelle) was to share. I realized I was going to have to do some colossal soul searching and super uncomfortable examinations of myself. I thought it might help both of us if you could witness it. It felt right to make myself vulnerable to you.

I had hoped, maybe naively, you would be willing to do the same (be vulnerable not necessarily keep a journal). With both of us sharing/growing, I thought, maybe, we could find our way back to each other. Maybe that’s wishful thinking. I don’t know. After our dinner on Thursday and the phone conversation Saturday afternoon, I feel further away from you than ever. I feel like we had started a trip together, 8 weeks ago, only for me to realize you’re still asleep, in bed, you haven’t packed your suitcase, and you aren’t planning on leaving for another 3 weeks. I have gotten so far ahead of you. I hope you can catch up but I’m afraid you can’t (or don’t want to).

I hope at some point, if you catch up, we can find each other again. We all feel less without you.

I love you.

Our future

resentment requires

living in the past. I look

towards our future


9:00am

Michelle and I had dinner last night. We ended up talking about our relationship…again. I had hoped we were just going to hang out and have fun together. In retrospect it was good. We didn’t have much fun but we worked on a few things. Michelle has a lot of resentment. I don’t say that in an accusatory way. That’s where she is. She kept talking about things that had happened in the past about my drinking, control issues, etc, etc. I told her that was the past. She is stuck on what I did instead of focusing on what I’m doing.

It makes me think about the movie “Land Lines”. The parallels Michelle and I have with this film are palpable. Jenny Slate’s character cheats on her fiancé, she comes to deeply regret it, and through it learns to truly value her fiancé and their love. Ultimately he takes her back but he is tortured by her infidelity and he torments her. She finally breaks down and tells him that she can’t help what she did. She did it. It happened. All she can do is love him and be the person he deserves now and into the future. He wants to be with her. He needed to learn how to let go of his resentment of how she hurt him. I hope Michelle wants us to be together enough to get past the resentment.

Michelle told me, on the phone, she wishes she had been stronger. She wishes she had MADE me stop drinking. I don’t know how to explain to her the only way I was ever going to stop drinking was if I hit rock bottom. Ruining our family and not having her to love is my rock bottom. Maybe there is a compliment in there…losing her was my rock bottom. That’s a pretty fucked up compliment.


my problem ruined

our lives once. did it teach me

how to be better?


1:00pm

I’ve been struggling with the “higher power” part of a 12 step program. Talking with Michelle last night made me realize what that is for me. It is the three of them. I truly hope we are going to be together. Michelle wants us to be together, pair that with her anger/resentment and it’s confusing…I get it. At the end of the day, if she loves me and she wants to be with me, she’ll sort out the resentment. We’ll find our way back to each other and be a family again.

If I ever went back to drinking I would lose Michelle and the boys. I will NEVER lose my family again. That is the higher power I have given myself up to, our family. It sounds like I’m making them responsible for my drinking. That’s not what I mean at all. I am responsible for my drinking. If I can’t stay sober for myself, I can stay sober for them. The ultimate motivation for sobriety: Dennis, Brad, and Michelle.