Too selfish to be their mother.

9:00am

Jesus Christ!! Michelle stopped by the house yesterday afternoon while Brad was there. He called me and was really nervous and upset. She was dropping off cards, presents, and a letter for me. The notes in the cards were nice and positive. I let them keep the cards and read them. They didn’t want the gifts. The letter she left me asked questions: Why did I make her leave in Arizona? Why didn’t I come to the hotel and get her in Arizona? All questions I have asked myself a million times. She answered those questions with this: “the answer is I have come to realize you are my abuser and I am your victim.” She has accused me of being an abuser.. I am without words…my post from December 11th (questioning whether her isolating me from my friends was the early signs of her being emotionally abusive) is so poignant.

We had the following text exchange:

Me: Brad just called. He said you’re at the house. Is that true?

Michelle: Yeah I dropped off Christmas presents and there is a note for you in the front mail box.

Me: You terrified him. Collette is at my house right now and she said that he is shaking.

Michelle: I didn’t think he would be home.

Me: Yes you did. We lived together as a family…you know when he gets home. Collette says he is so upset he is shaking all over.

Michelle: Did you let them read the letters or did you throw them away, or let me guess you read them first to make sure they are okay. Like a person who can never let go of any control. Notice she doesn’t acknowledge how upset Brad is and her part in it.

She timed her “dropping off” of presents when she knew Brad was going to be home. She could have put a stamp on them. She doesn’t think about what is best for Brad and that he might be made super upset by her just showing up…she only thinks about what she wants. Just selfish.

As I was rushing home to be with Brad I had a thought. What if she was there to talk? What if she wanted to talk about us and maybe us working on things? I got a sick, nervous, dread-filled feeling in my stomach. I think the emotional (heart centered) part of me is catching up to my brain. This moment is definitely part of my closure with Michelle. It is forcing the reality of our end to sink further in. Not the reality…the necessity of it. She is too selfish to be a step-mother to my children.

This morning I had the following exchange with a good friend:

Me: I was thinking about Michelle’s nonsense yesterday as I was driving into work this morning. Ugh…what a jerk!!

Derek: Just laugh about it! Even after 4 months she is still thinking about you!!

Me: I guess

Derek: Well. I guess you could wallow in the fact you were a dickhead at times by being too controlling and drinking too much. In other words…you would be just like Michelle in that you would become bitter and angry about the past without making the future better. Such as you have done by recognizing your behavior and controlling your drinking.

All true. I am lucky to have good friends to give me perspective. I feel better about the end of my relationship with Michelle than I have.

Something disgusting

1:30pm

Michelle posted something terrible on Facebook this afternoon. Two friends sent me a text with a screen shot (I’m no longer friends with her on social media). It is a picture of Michelle and the boys when we did family photos last year. She posted the following text with the photo:

Michelle: TBT of the 2 loves of my life. Due to selfishness, manipulation and control issues I don’t get to see them and if you didn’t know, it is killing me, especially missing Brad’s birthday and Christmas coming up.

I was super upset. I went into her feed and posted the following comment:

Me: We miss you too…but you left us. This is neither true or fair. Please stop using my children as a prop to get attention. It’s disgusting.

I deleted the comment about 5 minutes after posting on her feed and then reported the photos to Facebook. What a transparent, desperate, pathetic, immature cry for attention. How dare she use my children as a prop!!!

I feel much better texting and talking with friend. I feel supported and cared for. I do not feel alone like I did when we first broke up or in Chicago.

More time

thought I was ready.

couldn’t be more wrong. I will

just keep doing the work


8:00am

I’m not sending that fucking letter. When can I stop being sad about Michelle leaving? When will I stop thinking about her every single day? She has moved on so what’s the point of that letter from Friday?

I had a good weekend. I was home with the dog on Friday night. I went to a good friend’s on Saturday night. Sunday, I went Christmas shopping, grocery shopping, I washed and folded all of the laundry for the boys and I, did the most brutal squat workout, went to Brad’s soccer game, and then went to the movies. I was planning on working on my journal but I just didn’t have the time.

Monica and I continue to talk and text back and forth. That is something. I like her a lot as a friend and I definitely find her attractive. She has been clear that being romantic is something she would like to do. I know we aren’t what each other is looking for in a long-term, romantic partner. She’s a George Strait girl and I’m a Billie Holiday boy. Both are fine and super cool but ultimately not the best partners. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to get her naked and in bed. It also doesn’t mean I would use her and lead her on with implied promises of us being a couple. We’ll see. It would be nice to have a lover to share some time with.

So that is a bit of a change right? I’m hung up about Michelle but now I’m thinking about sleeping with another woman to fill that void. Jesus…I am a mess. I think I need to put more time between my relationship with Michelle and now before I entertain the idea of a new one.

 

 

 

The rabbit hole

4:00pm

After over 4 weeks of radio silence she suddenly reaches out to me. Here is our exchange:

Michelle: Can I come over and get Christmas stuff I left there, some of it is pretty sentimental.

Me: When would you want to come over? I will make sure the house is unlocked and I am not home (so you don’t have to see me). I am meeting some friends out around 6:30pm…you can come over then

Michelle: Ok that works, I’ll go there tonight

Me: Please don’t bring your new boyfriend into the home we shared.

Michelle: I would never do that but I will bring someone so I’m not alone

Me: Because I am dangerous? Really? Is that the reason…because you think I am a physical risk to you?

Michelle: No, just because it’s the smart thing to do. Delena is coming

Me: It’s the smart thing to do when you’re with a strange man you can’t trust.

You could have just said Delena is going to be with me. You didn’t need to insult me (again). Just can’t help but twist the knife can you?

Let’s do it this way. What sentimental things do you want? I will pack it up and mail it to you. That way you don’t need to be at the house at all.

Michelle: I don’t even know what is all in there, just let me come get it. You put words in my mouth…please stop

Me: No I didn’t…you said that with a purpose. I feel like you are just fucking with me again. I don’t like it. Tell me what you want and I will mail it tomorrow evening.

…blah, blah, blah. What am I doing? It is such a waste of time and energy. It went further and further down the hole with us back and forth. I eventually got mean insulting her new boyfriend again.

Me: Enjoy Christmas with your Barista.

Michelle: He’s actually a software developer for an engineering firm

Me: Who gives a shit

He looks like the shih-tzu you always wanted. From the way people have described him he is. Your mild, little doormat. Good for you.

What is happening?

10:00am

I am getting a sinking feeling in my chest again. Not as intense as it has been but it is getting worse. I think something might be wrong with me. I think this is what a panic attack is. I am short of breath and my heart rate is elevated. I just sent my therapist the following email:

Hi Lisa,
Ever since I went to Chicago over Thanksgiving I’ve been having a really hard time. Just feelings of being overwhelmed. I’m not sure what is going on. I’m in this weepy, about to cry at any moment place. I’ve not been sleeping and thought that might be it. I slept well last night and felt better until about 15 minutes ago and now I feel like I’m back to where I was the last few days. I don’t feel right. I feel like I did when we first met those few months back in August. Is it normal to have these kind of “relapses”?

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

4:00pm

I feel like Hedwig did in the last scene of Hedwig and the Angry Inch when he wanders out into an alley cold, alone, and naked. He is completely exposed and disoriented. He stumbles a bit but he keeps moving towards the end of the alley. In that moment, I feel hope for Hedwig. He is leaving this dark place and moving towards something better. Watching it, you get the sense that Hedwig is going to be okay.

I am nervous. I feel naked, exposed, and vulnerable. Even when I stumble, I want to keep moving forward. Luckily it is the only direction available to me.

What works

I am Regret. I

force questions that do not have

answers. I loathe sleep.


9:00am

Monday morning I sent Michelle a photo of Brad and his soccer team after they won their tournament with a brief description of the weekend both boys had. I sent her the picture because I thought she loves my boys and would like to hear about them. On my drive home from work I received the following text from her:

Michelle: I don’t see the need for us to have any more contact. I will not be responding to any more messages.

I was so upset. I have been feeling so good about things. Thursday I get all weird and freaked out about going on a date with a different woman then this. What the fuck? I did what works. I had a brutal workout, spent quality time with my boys, cried a little bit, talked to my dog, took a long hot bath, and read my book. By the time I was in bed I felt better.

I had some choice things to say back to her immediately after she sent me the text.

Me: Yeah, I can see that from your perspective. Why keep in contact with people you really never cared for to begin with. You are a cruel, unforgiving, and vindictive person. You kept that hidden for over three years. I don’t know if that is admirable or terrifying. You always said the song “Just My Imagination” by the Temptations was our song as a couple. Talk about foreshadowing huh?

About 5 minutes after I sent that I thought maybe I shouldn’t have. Now, I don’t have any regrets. Fuck Michelle and the space she keeps taking up in my head and my heart!! She IS cruel, unforgiving and vindictive. I am sending her the following text and then I am blocking her number from my cell phone as well.

Me: Yesterday, for about 30 minutes, I felt bad I sent that text. That was it. I stand by it. You ARE cruel, unforgiving, and vindictive. I should have included selfish, naïve, and immature as well. You’ve allowed one moment to define everything. You can’t allow I am capable of change because you are NOT capable of change. You have told me to “go fuck yourself” and that “you ruined my life and I fucking hate you.” I wish I had it in me to respond in kind…I don’t.

I’ll leave you with this: your actions the last 13 weeks and 2 days has as much to do with us being apart as anything I have done. One day, you will look back on our life together (our family) and you will regret leaving. You will miss us.

I sent this as a text and as an email. I have blocked her on my phone and email.

 

Love is a behavior

8:00am

Real love is a behavior not an emotion. It doesn’t matter how we “feel” if we have no action or “works”. An abusive spouse may feel they love their partner but the abuse says otherwise. A cheating wife may feel she loves her husband but the infidelity says otherwise…and so on and so on. Since our break up, I have tried so hard to make myself a better person. I can look back on the last 12 weeks and really say this has been a demonstration of my love for my children and Michelle.

Michelle doesn’t love me. It’s that simple. It is so clear looking at it through the prism of “love is a behavior not an emotion”. In fact, reflecting on our relationship, it makes me question if she ever did. I think she loved the idea I represented and the comfort my money provided. I say this because when we came to our first, real crisis she ran like a prisoner who sees freedom for the first time in 3 1/2 years. She has never looked back. Since then she has: misrepresented my actions, twisted my words, insulted my integrity, maligned me as a father, consistently said horribly cruel things (with the sole intention of hurting me), tried to manipulate my emotions for her financial benefit (health care), lied/went behind my back to try and maintain a relationship with my kids, and who knows what else. I guess the last one would be an example (all be it a misguided one) of her loving the boys. Her actions speak volumes about how she feels. She doesn’t love me. The only regrets she has with our relationship failing is losing Dennis and Brad and the material benefits that come with being with me. My “demonstrations of love” since our breakup have been a spectacular waste of time. I need to focus on loving just my boys.

Sliding Doors

8:00am

I have been writing in my journal less lately, just once a day. It hasn’t been intentional. I just have less on my mind to get out on paper. I talked with my therapist about this. She thinks it’s good sign. It means the inner turmoil, depression, and conflict are subsiding. I feel it. I feel like I’m on “this” side of my depression. I still feel sad sometimes. I miss Michelle and how we were together. I miss thinking about our future together. Putting that down on paper makes me sad, the past tense of the verb. It’s the way things are. Even now it feels so wrong and surreal. It’s like I’m in Sliding Doors. I wish there was a version of me that still had Michelle in my life to love. I miss hearing her voice. I miss telling her about my day. I miss reading while she does her homework. She used to do this stupid thing Saturday mornings while she was getting ready for work. She would turn on the ceiling fan light (which is super bright) and right before she did it would yell out, “PREPARE, PREPARE!!!” so I could cover my eyes with a pillow. I miss it…the day-to-day minutia of our relationship. I like the idea of there being a Sliding Doors (alternate) universe where Michelle and I figured things out and were back together living life towards our future. I wish there was an “our future”. There isn’t. She wants something else. I don’t even know what she wants because we don’t talk anymore. The last time we communicated was almost 2 weeks ago and she was screaming and hysterical about not being able to see the boys.

So I’m alone. I used to like being alone. Unfortunately, these days alone means being without Michelle. I don’t like that at all. Maybe, someday, I will.

Renewal

I will never drink.

this sobriety is what

remains of our love


death is renewal.

her love dying gave birth to

my sobriety


8:30am

I really like the way I feel in the mornings. I feel rested, clear headed, and lite. I like the calm in my brain. I don’t feel embarrassed I’m hung over on a weekday, again. I don’t have the scared, little voice in my head whispering, “You have a problem man.” That voice scared me. Every, time I woke up tired, foggy, thirsty, and pretending I was none of those things I would hear it in my head. “Dude, it’s Tuesday and you’re hung over again? You can’t keep doing this.” I wish I had quit drinking sooner. Brad and I have so much fun driving to middle school in the mornings. I feel like I short changed Dennis the last 2 years.

I know my sobriety required a crisis. I needed to be faced with a horrible consequence before I would make a change. Michelle was the consequence. I lost Michelle because I drank. She doesn’t see it but I do. The-glass-is-half- full way to look at losing Michelle is to think about all the things I could have lost had I kept drinking: my career, my home, my money, solid/healthy friendships, and a loving relationship with my children. Last week my therapist commented on the guilt I feel about being a drunk. She asked me if I saw anything good about not drinking. I do. I am modeling the right behavior around alcohol for my boys. There are alcoholics on both sides of my family (maternal grandmother, and paternal grandfather). All 3 of us are pre-disposed to being drunks. Being honest and open with the boys about my issues with alcohol and modelling the right behavior is going to help them do the same. It is just like smoking. It is kind of a I-will-not-have-lost-the-love-of-my-life-in-vain sort of thing. I will honor the love and relationship Michelle and I had (and lost) by being a better man and father to my boys. At this point, it is all I have left of her.