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.

So you’re saying there’s a chance!

7:30am

I’ve been anxious to write in my journal since Friday. Michelle asked me out to dinner. Michelle told me she wants us to try to be together. She said (in almost the same breath) she doesn’t know how that would work. Frankly, I don’t either. She doesn’t know/trust how I can change my controlling behavior.

I’m not done working on it but I know I it’s changed. Brad and I were talking Saturday afternoon. We talked about my drinking. I asked him if he’s noticed anything different about me since I quit. He said I’m not as bossy or as grumpy as I used to be. He said I seem a lot happier. The longer I go without drinking, the more apparent it becomes how destructive drinking was for me and those I love.

I feel happier. I notice I laugh a lot more in the mornings now. I have more energy. My mind feels clearer. I went to bed at 1:30am on Friday and woke up Saturday at 6:30am. I was pretty tired but not foggy in my head. I was able to do my yard work, exercise, take Dennis shopping for homecoming, go to Brad’s soccer tournament all afternoon, and come home and read for a bit. Even though I was super tired I had fun with the boys, with Derek (we had a bite to eat between soccer games), I texted with Michelle, just had a really great day. All of it was because I wasn’t hung over.

I have to admit something disturbing. I still have an urge to drink and I’m frightened by it. I’m not frightened of lapsing. It’s strength is what frightens me. I don’t like it. It pisses me off. I resent it. That is motivating. I can take a step a back and see how drinking has hurt my life.

Michelle still loves me. We made no promises about any future we might have together. She just knows she misses being together. She misses our family. Just knowing that makes me feel better. We talked a bit on Sunday. She said Friday hurt because of how much she missed everything. She asked how I felt. I am like Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber. “So you’re saying there’s a chance!!!”

I feel like she is nervous about this. I think it has to do with trust. She wants to trust I will continue to do the things I say I will, but she isn’t sure. I get that. I’m not going to ask or beg her to trust me. That is the cry of a guilty soul. Time and my follow through are the only things.

The same can be said about what she does. I’m nervous about her anger and her panic attacks. She has an appointment with a therapist this week. If she does the work, she is going to learn where the anger and anxiety comes from. I suspect it has its roots in her childhood and what happened between her parents when they were separated.

So there are a lot of unknowns here. It’s why we said there are no promises. There is just a desire to be better. We asked each other multiple times…what do we do now? We want to try and work our way back to each other. How do we do that? We work on ourselves and some of the challenges we have. Only then we can work on us.


She should never get

credit for Her selfishness.

She is not like Her.


1:00pm

Our relationship will NOT be the same as it was. The bones of it will be the same: we love each other, we are dedicated to a life together (right now to the idea of a life together), and we are dedicated to Dennis and Brad. The day to day, I imagine will involve me letting go of the reins. The more I think about it, the easier it feels. It’s a matter of trust. I know I can trust Michelle to make decisions that are in our best interest. She won’t let me down. If she and I are going to work as a couple, I have to trust her. That’s it.

I see the reservations I have that anyone will do what’s best for me. That anxiety is why I hold on to the reins so tightly. If I want to be in any relationship, I need to find a person I can trust and give that up to them.

Let me restate. If I want to have a successful relationship with Michelle, I have to trust her to make decisions that are in our best interest. I can’t control them. I have to give up control.

Here’s the insight. Collette could NEVER be trusted to make any decisions but what was in her own best interest. She is selfish. She made innumerable decisions, during our marriage (and after), that were hurtful and detrimental to me, my kids, and ultimately to our marriage. I have been operating under that same primer. Michelle is not Collette. Michelle is not selfish. Michelle has integrity. Michelle loves me. Michelle loves Dennis. Michelle loves Brad. Michelle will not make decisions that are selfish and hurtful. Michelle can be trusted. Michelle is Michelle. That is why we love her.

 

Sam Cooke

our home – diminished

by your absence. they need us

to be their strength again


together we were

their stability. apart,

we take it from them


8:30am

With Labor Day, it was a nice long weekend. The weekends seem endless with my getting up so early any more. I guess that’s one advantage to not being able to sleep. Brad asked me, again, about Michelle and I and if we’re going to get back together. I told him I didn’t think so. I asked him how he felt about that. He said, sad. It’s like I said before. Their greatest hope is Michelle and I getting back together. Their life was happy with a stable, and loving home. We (Michelle and I) provided that and then took it away from them.

I feel awful about that. I wonder if Michelle does. I wonder if she has even processed things to a point where she can admit her part in taking away a happy, stable, and loving home from the boys. We took our family away from them.

Sam Cooke broke me down on Sunday afternoon. It happened while I was cooking dinner – again. It is my absolute favorite Sam Cooke song ‘Bring it on Home to me’ that did it:

If you ever change your mind

About leaving, leaving me behind

Bring your sweet loving

Bring it on home to me

 

I know I laughed when you left

But now I know I only hurt myself

Oh, oh bring it to me

Bring your sweet loving

Bring it on home to me

 

I’ll give you jewelry and money too

That ain’t all, that ain’t all I’ll do for you

Oh, if you bring it to me

Bring your sweet loving

Bring it on home to me

What a dickhead favorite song to have when you’re broken hearted. I think I’m just not going to listen music while I cook. No more tears while I’m cooking. Funny, right?

Thomas called to check up on me. I think he was actually checking up on my feelings about Patrick. He said my brother told him I “blasted” him with my email. He told me Patrick was pretty upset and sad about it. I didn’t say much. I forwarded him the email.

Michelle sent me a text about the email I sent Patrick, I guess it was one of the journal entries I had shared with her. She was wondering what, if anything, he said to me after the email. I guess that means she’s reading the entries I send.

Last night, Dad asked me where things are with Michelle and I. It’s the third time he’s done that. I’m puzzled by the curiosity. It feels a bit out of character. Is he nervous about the prospect of Michelle and I getting back together? Frankly, he should be. Let’s say, by some miracle, Michelle takes me back and we are able to be a family again. He’s going to have to square things with Michelle. Now I assume she would be willing to compromise but I wouldn’t expect her to eat shit and have to put up with any nonsense. It’s her home as much as it is mine.

Maybe I’m just projecting a desire for him to be nervous. It would be indicative of some sort of contrition about how he behaved in the past.


1:00pm

A note (in a greeting card) I sent Michelle this afternoon:

Michelle,

I assume you’ve read a few of the journal entries I’ve sent you. I’ve been writing some poems as well. Haiku’s are silly, I know, but they’re easy to write. I like the restrictions the format imposes…it helps distill how I feel. They aren’t very good but they’re honest.

Do what you will with them: keep them to yourself, share them to mock me, throw them in the trash, use them to pick up dog shit in the yard (maybe it’ll be cathartic to do that), whatever you want.

The boys miss you so much.

I miss you.

I love you.

 

Joseph

Don’t fucking mope!

she doesn’t need you.

why would she? be the man she

deserves and would want!


8:15am (shared with Michelle)

I’m missing drinking less and less. The parallels between quitting drinking and quitting smoking are helpful. The longer I went without smoking the more I wanted to stay on that path. I wanted to smoke every time I smelled a cigarette or saw someone have one but I kept telling myself, it’s been 4 weeks since you quit, don’t ruin all that work. It’s been 9 months since you quit, don’t ruin all of that work. It’s been 7 years since you quit, don’t ruin all of that work.

I’m feeling the same way about drinking. It’s been over 5 weeks since I quit drinking, don’t ruin all the work you’ve done. I’m trying to be mindful of the reasons I quit drinking: it makes me feel better (physically and emotionally) about myself, I want to set the right example for my boys, and I need to be the man a woman like Michelle would want…who she deserves to be with.

Now let me clarify that last thing. I know Michelle is never going to take me back. Whether she wants to or not isn’t relevant. She just isn’t going to.

Man…it’s really hard to write that down. Michelle and I are never going to be together. She doesn’t want me anymore. She doesn’t love me anymore. She doesn’t want us to be a family anymore. That’s the truth. We are finished. I have to find a way to heal and move on. The only way out is through.

Being the man Michelle deserves isn’t about her necessarily (or maybe/probably it is). It’s an abstraction. I was no longer fun, happy David when I was drinking. I was the angry drunk guy no one wants to be around, who scares his family. I hate that prick and never want to see him again. So…it’s been over 5 weeks since I quit drinking, don’t ruin all the work you’ve done!!


1:00pm

I want to write in this afternoon but I’m not sure what to talk about. I’ve talked our relationship too much.

I was thinking about Christmas in 2015 and 2016. They were probably my two favorite Christmas’s ever, 2015 in particular. That morning we slept in a bit (in fact we told the boys they couldn’t wake us up until 7am…at exactly 7am Dennis knocked on our bedroom door. Michelle made him lay down with us and we slept for another hour), opened presents, had a nice breakfast and then cleaned up. I got the turkey going and Dave and Sheri (Michelle’s parents) came over. The boys opened more presents and then we all just hung out. Finally we had all of Dave’s side of their family over for a big Christmas Dinner. It was wonderful and so much fun. We did it again in 2016 (the boys came for dinner after they were done at their mom’s house). I thought it was a wonderful tradition we started, the big dinner with Dave’s side of the family.

With how things are with my family in Arizona and Michelle and I, the boys and I are going to need to start coming up with our own holiday traditions from now on. We’ll need them for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I know when the boys are with their mother I’ll plan on being out of town, on my own. I think Christmas 2018 (when I don’t have the Dennis and Brad) I should do something grand. I’d love to go to Paris. It’ll be better to be miserable and alone in Paris than miserable and alone in Omaha. It’s not a bad idea.

Visit to the Rodin Museum and the Louvre. Have a lovely meal on the Champs-Élysées Christmas Day. Or if everything is closed…get a baguette, cheese, and fruit the day before and make a picnic (all be it a cold one) under the Eiffel Tower. All I’ll need is a book of poetry, a novel, my journal, and I’ll be super great. If I’m going to be alone…I’m not going to fucking mope while I do it.

I adored you

drinking, I adored

you – tried to take everything

I love in this world.


drinking, I adored

you – demanded everything

I love in this world.


9:30am (shared with Michelle)

It was a good weekend. I kept busy with work around the house, movies, and friends. I’m still dealing with tearing up at random times. I am sleeping better. Sunday I didn’t wake up until 7am in the morning. That was nice. It was the first time I slept that late since I quit drinking. I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night either. It feels like progress.

Michelle picked Brad up from school yesterday and spent a few hours with him. Dennis still doesn’t want to do that and I don’t think pressuring him would be productive. Brad had a really great time. I had the day off and was at the house when he got home. Michelle came in the house (she wanted to say hi to Dennis). We were both surprised to see each other. She didn’t expect me to be home and I didn’t expect her to come in the house.

It hurt so much to see her. I just wanted to hold her and tell her how sorry I am about everything. Tell her what happened in Arizona will never happen again. I will always support her and will never turn my back on her again. I wanted to tell her how much I love and miss her. How I want her to come home with the boys and I so we can be a family again. I didn’t do any of that. I just exchanged the normal pleasantries and then watched her out the window as she walked to her car and drove away.

I did send her a text about how “it was a nice surprise to see you today”. She said, “yes same here…”and then asked if Brad had a good time. She was just being nice. It’s the same as the last time we spoke on the phone. She was only talking to me then, because she didn’t want to be overly cruel. The same can be said for her “yes same here”. She didn’t want to be cruel.

I have to assume she has moved beyond any desire to be a family or to be with me. That is slowly getting through all of my hope and optimism. She wants her life apart, with all the possibilities it offers by not being tied down with a family. I don’t blame her. I betrayed her trust. Now she wants a world bigger than Dennis, Brad, and me. She is evolving/growing. It is less about lacking the capacity for forgiveness and more about her wanting more possibility in her life. Good for her, I guess.

So back to my mantra: I can’t influence or control anything or anyone but myself. To get past this hurt I must work on: my anxiety, my insecurities, and the resultant control issues. Focus on what I can control…my physical health: sobriety (this shit all hinges on drinking), weight loss, exercise, writing, reading, good movies, and spending time with friends who are healthy and supportive. Peace will come as a matter of course.

All I am

I will let you in.

you can overwhelm me but

you shall not remain


I have never felt

alone. Now, in your absence

it is all I am.


7:30am

I cannot influence all outcomes. I cannot control things. Things will always work out, not necessarily the way you want them to. That is okay.

I had another great meeting with Lisa again. I think I have my head around controlling behavior and anxiety. Controlling behavior is a coping mechanism. If you are in charge of every detail, you no longer have anything to be anxious about. Nothing is going to happen that you can’t directly influence…so, poof, anxiety gone. The problem is, it isn’t gone. It makes you a difficult person to be around. It makes other people have to bend themselves around you. It’s unfair and selfish. I can see my lack of patience is part of that.

Lisa and I worked on having a calming place to go to in my head. I imagine sitting on a beach at night when no one is around. It’s Mission Beach. I think about: the sound of the waves crashing, the feel of the sand on my fingertips, the feel of the breeze on my skin, the glow of Belmont Park up the beach, and the feeling of the stress draining out of my chest. She had me meditate on that a bit. Then she asked me for a word I could use to help associate with that…Belmont.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night. I had all the thoughts that run through my mind about Michelle and I. I immediately told myself I can’t control those outcomes. I then did the breathing exercise and just said Belmont (in my head) over and over until the thoughts stopped. It took a bit but it helped. These aren’t helpful thoughts. I understand where they are coming from, having them is normal and to be expected but I need to let go.


12:00pm

I was cooking dinner yesterday and “The Soldier and the Oak” by Elliot Park came on. It’s such a beautiful and sad song. It broke me. I ended up sobbing in the kitchen. I cried for the shame I feel (over my treatment of Michelle in Arizona). I cried for the love I’ve lost and the mother Dennis and Brad have lost with her leaving me. I cried for the embarrassment and humiliation I feel about having a drinking problem.

I didn’t fight it. I didn’t hold the grief back. I let it in and let it overwhelm me. When it passed, I was exhausted but I felt better. It’s almost like letting it pass through me and not fighting it helped release some of it.

I feel sad. I feel overwhelmed with grief at times.

This belongs to me

this belongs to me

it doesn’t depend on her

she cannot take it


10:30am

I still can’t sleep. It’s different waking up tired now. I haven’t had anything to drink. I’m exhausted but it’s easy getting out of bed. I met up with a friend yesterday for a “drink” or two. I drank diet coke the whole time. I did that last Friday with the boys at Dario’s, Saturday at a friends’ pig roast, and last night. It’s not as hard as I worried it would be. In fact, it’s not a big deal at all.

I have noticed one thing, I drink a lot of soda just like I would drink a lot of beer/wine/booze. I think it’s a fidgeting thing I have. Like a tick. I have drink in front of me so I keep sipping it. I noticed a while ago, I do it when I’m having lunch with a client. I constantly sip my iced tea or soda while we’re talking.

When I’m drinking alcohol, it’s worse. The more I have had to drink, the faster I’m drinking it, and it can spiral out of control. I don’t know if it’s an anxiety thing, a nervous tick (like a person biting their nails), or something different all together.

It seems strange to use the word sobriety but I guess this is what I’m working on. Not being mostly sober, instead being 100% sober feels good. I have been in 3 social situations where I would have drank but didn’t (2 where I would have, at the minimum, gotten a buzz on). I’m going to stick with forming new habits around alcohol.

Weight loss: I’m down 7.4lbs in exactly 2 weeks. Almost every time I step on the scale in the morning, I’ve lost weight. Emotionally, it’s a huge boost to my mood. While the rest of my personal life is dog shit (except for my kids) at least I have this. It’s mine. No one can take it from me.

I’m trying to approach this break up and resultant depression, despair, shame, and hopelessness from a practical and logical perspective. I’m focusing on taking care of my body with: exercise, weight loss, and sobriety trusting my mind and heart will follow and heal.

Sleeping is still difficult

9:00am

This week has been a lot better for me. Sleeping is still difficult but having the boys at home is so good. I always miss them when they are with their mother, but it was worse without them last week.

I’ve decided to quit drinking, a complete moratorium for the month of August. I need to form new habits around alcohol (that might mean cutting it out entirely). It had/was become(ing) a thing I did for every occasion: celebrate anything, drown my sorrows, relax with friends, a reward for a good workout, on, and on. Michelle said something about my drinking, so did my Dad. They could see it. Honestly, so could I. I could feel it creeping in and taking over. It feels like a slow moving flood gradually, gently inundating everything. I can honestly see a point, a number of years from now, where I would look around and suddenly realize the water is up to my chest. Right now it feels like it’s about to come in the house and it’s time to get sandbags. It’s not too late. So not drinking feels good.

I’m losing weight too. Michelle and I decided (before we broke up) when we go back from vacation, we were going to join weight watchers and lose about 20lbs and 40lbs respectively. I’m following through on that. So far I am down 5lbs in nine days. That is helping the self-esteem tremendously. It’ll also make running (which I hate) and cardio easier…less shit to lug around.

I spoke to Michelle yesterday and read her my journal entry. I told her I needed space, that I needed her to not contact me in any way for a while. She then asked about having breakfast with the boys. I told her she could. Then she texted me last night and we ended up texting back and forth (joking and chatting like we always do) for 45 minutes. I couldn’t help myself. I miss her most at night when I’m in bed. So this morning, I called and told her breakfast with the boys this morning was the last time that happened, at least for a while. I told her she should not have reached out to me last night and that I needed space. I told her if wanted to talk to me, she needed to wait at least 2 weeks. She agreed.

I need this space to get my shit together (or at least start to get my shit together). I can’t do that if she is constantly reaching out to me throwing these mixed fucking signals. That said, I’ll admit to some brinkmanship. If she is missing “us”, then radio silence will exacerbate those feelings. I know every time my damn phone has a text, I’m praying it’s her. Losing her has fucked up my life (now work, or me as a parent…just my happiness). It’s going to be so hard not talking to her for 2 weeks. I think it’s what’s best for me and my mental and emotional health

a lovely, nice flood.

I see it now as poison

enveloping me

——————————————————————————————————–

1:00pm

A horrible thought just occurred to me. What if my relationship with Michelle was the “smart trade”? What if she weighed the financial benefits of being with me with the fact that she didn’t love me?

Maybe the trade for us was I could love and be with her provided it wasn’t too difficult and as long as I provided financial security. As soon as it became difficult…Boom…she’s gone. That would explain why it has been so easy for her to wash her hands of me.

That certainly answers the burning question I have had since we broke up: how can we go from extremely happy and raising my boys to “I don’t love you and I hope we can be friends” in less than 1 week? It’s because she didn’t love me to start, at least not enough.

That hurts so much: She didn’t love me or she didn’t love me enough.

she never loved me

at least not enough. for her,

leaving was easy

——————————————————————————————————–

she never loved me

at least not enough. for her,

leaving was better