Damn Radiohead

we miss you less now.

if you discount yesterday

and most days prior.


7:30am

The boys and I went to St. Paul to see Live From Here. It was a great show. Brad absolutely loved it. Dennis said, “Eh, it was okay. I guess it was pretty good.” The 15 year old version of, “I really liked it!” We had a great weekend together. Of course I was constantly reminded of Michelle’s absence. I had purchased a seat for her in the hopes she would go with us so her seat was empty at the theater.

We had a super relaxed attitude driving to and from St. Paul because we didn’t have a particular deadline or huge distance to travel…Michelle would have loved that. The host talked about a Radiohead song from their last album and then sang it. I almost started crying:

‘True Love Waits’

I’ll drown my beliefs

To have your babies

I’ll dress like your niece

And wash your swollen feet

 

Just don’t leave

Don’t leave

 

I’m not living

I’m just killing time

Your tiny hands

Your crazy kitten smile

 

Just don’t leave

Don’t leave

 

And true love waits

In haunted attics

And true love lives

On lollipops and crisps

 

Just don’t leave

Don’t leave

When he sang the chorus, at the end…it killed me. It was so sad and mournful. It had a slow, soft, panicked quality to it. It reminded me of how I have felt (off and on) the last 12 weeks. I feel like it reset how much I miss Michelle. It is different this time. It isn’t as immediate. It isn’t as sharp. It feels like the last time he sang the chorus – slow, soft, and (vaguely) panicked.

 

Not waiting around

7:45am

Thomas called me last night checking in. I forgot to return his phone call a week ago. He joked and said he thought I might be ghosting him like I was my brother. We briefly talked about Michelle and then just how our kids are doing etc. He transitioned the conversation to my family. I told him I was on speaking terms with my parents but hadn’t spoken to my brother in months now. He asked if I was interested in changing that. I told him I wasn’t, not right now anyway. We talked about The Holidays and what the boys and I are planning. If I have the month at work I am hoping I have, the boys and I are going to be in New York City for Christmas. I’d love to stay at the Essex House again

I had a good visit with my therapist yesterday. I was not looking forward to it. The previous visit I left feeling like shit. We have been “targeting” an extreme bullying incident from when I was in 7th grade. I ended up feeling significantly better when we were done. I have little stress or anxiety about it. I am trying to think what would be the next event to target. Right now, this morning, it’s the relationship I had with Kim Ferguson. That freaks me out. It has impacted every romantic relationship I have had since. I even referenced it with my Michelle when she vacillates between wanting to be with me and not. I told her, “I won’t wait around. I have literally wasted years of my life waiting and hoping a woman would love me. I will not do that again.” In fact Michelle is the first relationship I have had where I didn’t think about Kim Ferguson. That is pathetic.

I feel like I should provide some context here. In college I met a girl named Kim. She was funny, smart, tall, blonde, and beautiful…we clicked instantly. I fell in love with her. I remained in love with her for years. We would fool around from time to time but she was much more of a free spirit and didn’t share the same romantic feelings I did. I was locked into the friend zone for years hoping she would change how she saw me. So when I say I’m not going to waste years of my life (again) waiting for a woman to love me…that’s what I mean.

Kind of a douche

I despise how I

was. I wish I would have told

myself not to drink


8:00am

Last night the boys and I met some friends for dinnerOn the drive home, Brad said, “Dad, I am so glad you don’t drink anymore…like really glad.” It was emphatic the way he said it. Dennis chimed in echoing the same feelings. I asked them why they were bringing it up.

Dennis said, “You were kind of a douche when you drank too much…sorry.” I could hear the trepidation in his voice as he said it. I asked him why he was sorry. “I don’t know, I feel bad saying that.” I told him he didn’t need to feel bad. Brad talked about driving home one night (Michelle was driving) where I kept throwing my flip-flop at Dennis in a joking way that just got annoying. I guess that’s a weak example…but they are 12 and 15…it’s what comes to mind for them. There are plenty of moments of me being short, impatient, etc.

I told them how sorry I am I behaved like that. They both said it was totally fine, especially now. They know we are all in a better place now that I don’t drink any more. I think we can see it because of its absence. Kind of a forest for the trees type scenario…we are out of the forest, now we can all look back and reflect on a drinking Dad and see what an asshole he could be. I’m not happy I was like that. Saying I feel guilty and embarrassed doesn’t do justice to how horrible I feel.

I should focus on the positive…I am so happy I don’t drink. I am not that drunken shithead.  I hope everyone still in my life realizes that.

 

Please don’t patronize!

9:00am

Michelle sent me the following text at 10:30pm last night:

Michelle: You ruined my life and I fucking hate you.

She called me multiple times. I texted here and asked her to stop. She called at midnight I didn’t look to see who it was (I was asleep) and answered the phone. She was sobbing and inconsolable. She feels I am punishing her by “taking” the boys away. I described the confusion the boys feel and why that wasn’t good for their well being. It isn’t what she wants to hear. She started hurling the insults again and telling me how I felt rather than listen to when I talked about my feelings. She is all rage and hate. I’m afraid she’ll never change.

I sent her the following text this morning:

Me: Are you okay this morning? I know you don’t trust or believe I am getting better with my drinking and because of that you don’t want to be with me. I just feel the need to tell you this so you know…I still want us to be together. I am willing to do whatever work is necessary. I am already in therapy for myself. I will do couples therapy…I will do anything for us. Please don’t patronize and dictate to me how I feel. This is how I feel! I hope you are better today.

Maybe she will take me back, maybe she won’t. I won’t waste my time trying to influence that. I will make decisions about my life and my children’s lives using all the information I have available to me. She has told me innumerable times we aren’t going to be together:

  • I don’t want you to have any hope of us getting back together.
  • I have felt so much, more calm since I don’t have your standards to live up to.
  • I feel more content with myself when I’m not with you.
  • Go fuck yourself.
  • If there was ever a chance of us being together that is gone now.
  • You ruined my life and I fucking hate you.

I don’t have anything else to say about Michelle today.


Oct. 6, 2017

12:00pm

Monica and I have been talking more. She was getting a bit flirty and I had to tell her that isn’t what I want in reconnecting with her. She’s been lonely and with our sexual history it makes sense. To be honest I had thought about it too. I have extremely fond memories of that aspect of dating her. So I’m working on boundaries. Making sure to keep what I need/want in mind. Not trying to please everyone else etc.

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!!!!!!!

 

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.

Forgiveness

it is cathartic

to apologize. more so

to be forgiven.


7:45am

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.

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.