Good Golly Miss Molly! 

So I sent my husband the very Horribly Honest, “I’m Over It” letter about 24 hours ago.  I woke up to a text from the older of my brothers (whom my husband and older daughter were staying with) saying “I love you sister!  Anger gives people strength to do stuff that they normally couldn’t but anger rarely allows us to make beneficial decisions.  It is hard but allow God to soften parts of you where he would chose.  I love you.”  Yes, that would be the preachy brother who doesn’t know as much as he thinks he does about what’s going on…

At 2:40 pm I get a text from my husband saying “I am sorry for every hurt Ihave caused you.  I will be in town tonight and would like to meet with you tonight rather than next Tuesday.  I should be available after 9pm, and will meet wherever you wish, if you will permit.” 

Hmmm…

I’m still angry enough that it would probably be a good thing to meet with him tonight while I still have some backbone left in me so I tell him I will meet him at 9:30 pm at a 24 hour resturant.

I sent my best friend from high school the letter to get her feedback, as I have done often since I moved out.  She calls me and we talk – I say I am angry that I had to write the Horribly Honest Letter in the first place and she asks me “Why?”.  She does this to help me identify the source of my feelings, not because she doesn’t think I should be angry, and while I know this about her that doesn’t always mean I enjoy answering those kinds of questions – she’s very good for me, lol.  My sister asks me these sorts of questions as well so I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I am going to have to face my feelings one way or another…

I had to think about it for a while but finally come up with an answer, however, to properly explain I need to tell you a little bit of my history.  Until the last year or so I have lived my life as a shield for others, which is a fancy way of saying I am an enabler, except for me it’s become a compulsion, an obsession and even a desperate need.  If I can find a way to insert myself between you and the painful consequences of your actions – I will.  If for some reason I see a way to be your shield and yet can not I will literally feel physical pain and anguish.  I do this because I tell myself I am stronger than you are, I have survived more pain and suffering than anyone else should ever have to go through and therefore I can, and will, take it for you so that you won’t be hurt.  I would search for ways to be your sheild because I think this is helpful to you and in some weird, twisted way, makes me a hero – and an unsung one at that.  I’ve noticed a lot of my daydreams feature me as a hero… but I digress.  Over the years I did my best to be a shield to everyone – my mother, my brothers, my sister, my husband, my children, my in-laws, my friends…  and it wasn’t until I started working with my last counselor, about a year ago, that she pointed it out and helped me see my “shielding” for what it really was.  Enabling.  My keeping negative consequences from my children denied them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes, and thus they kept re-making them.  My refusual to tell my husband how he made me feel, how he hurt me, etc., only allowed me to continue his immature behaviors, keep wounding me and never be confronted with the fact that he needed to grow up.  A Lot.

In the last year I started to make baby steps towards laying down my shield and letting people bear the consequences of their own choices but baby steps were not enough to deal with my husband’s past behaviors.  His statement of “I never abused you” combined with my belief that he locked me out of “our” home made me angry enough to write the Horribly Honest Letter and quit trying to shield him from the knowledge of who he used to be – something I have never confronted him with because I knew it would hurt him to know those things.  I felt backed into a corner and it seemed like I was “forced” to write honestly about things I never wanted to think about again in order to get him to believe that he truly was abusive to me.  This made me angry, very, very angry and I almost expected to see that I had turned into a bulky, green Hulk-ess when I looked in the mirror. 

What a good friend I have to make me figure all of that out!

So I arrive at the resturant a bit early, he arrived shortly after and we sat down to talk.  Much to my astonishment he was calm, pleasant, sincerely apologetic and very easy to talk to.  We talked for 2 1/2 hours, which went by quickly, and only a couple of moments teetered on the edge of being awkward but each one tilted back to the “normal, adult conversation” side and stayed there.  We talked about a lot of different things, ranging from the Horribly Honest Letter to the kids, to bills, to the key situation, to my “shielding” instinct and more.  I was shocked and surprised to realized that I was actually enjoying our discussion.  Who was this man and what had he done with my husband?  (And could he keep my  husband indefinitely wherever it was that he had locked him away?)

I went there expecting to stand firm and insist on filing for divorce.  I walked away thinking I really liked the guy I had just talked to and wishing he would be that guy all the time.  The negative side of me whispered “We’ll see how long it lasts” and there is a large part of me that is waiting for the other shoe to drop…  But for now, I’m willing to wait and see what happens.

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