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Even though I am very much loved I am completely alone. Sometimes it just gets to me and I cry, like now… But I chose this. I chose to walk away, to trade being alone inside of a relationship for being alone outside of a relationship. 

The funny thing is, it’s actually hope that kills you. Inside that relationship there was no hope for things to get better and so I survived on duty. You’d be surprised at how much can be done out of duty… Outside that relationship there is hope that maybe someday I won’t be alone but the fear that I am too damaged quashes my hope far too often and self-preservation will probably never let me even date successfully, guaranteeing that love will have to sneak up on me if it’s ever going to work. 

I’ve made great progress though.  (Go me!)  I actually belive the people who hug me and tell me they love me, I believe they mean it. That’s a big step for me. But I’m an all-or-nothing girl, if I love you, I love you. Completely, 100%, do anything for you, love you. And that’s not how those people love me, they have lives that I am a part of but not all of. They can’t love me the same way I love them because they already love somebody else that way. And for those parts I am included in, I am in heaven – but I think some of my people feel like I’m trying to drown them because I am too deep… for the other parts of their lives that I am not invited in to, well, for those parts I am alone, very, very alone. 
But it was my choice. Of the two choices I was left with I’m pretty sure I’d choose it again. 

 The crash and burn of realizing you are only wanted when you are needed

The light-bulb moment of finally understanding that’s one of the many things he did for all those years, the one who broke you

The self-loathing at recognizing every man you’ve ever fallen for could not or would not love you back – and yet you gravitate towards another just like that over and over again

The fear that you will never be able to love someone who is different, someone who is better

The accepting of yourself – you fall fast and hard at the first drop of kindness and think it’s love 

The knowledge that this may never change

The hope that it never changes because then you would not be you

The draining wariness of constantly being on guard against falling in love

The battle between wanting to fall in love and needing to feel safe

The sadness that “safe” and “in love” have never come to you at the same time

The weariness of needing to decipher your own emotions and those around you non-stop

The utter exhaustion from carrying all of life’s responsibilities while guarding your damaged heart that still slips out the window like a teenager and falls in love with the wrong guy anyway 

The desperate need to believe in fairy tales because maybe, just maybe, you could have a happily ever after too

The sleep that finally comes to give you just enough strength to make it through one more day so you can do it all over again

For the 4th of July I went to a local water park with a friend, her sister and their kids and we spent a fun day sliding and floating on the lazy river and I even got a bit of a tan, whoo hoo!

8:30 pm that day my younger daughter called me, the 18 year old that ran off and got married and was a 12 hour drive away.  She was sobbing and wanted me to tell her that she could make her marriage work.  I told her she could but that I wasn’t sure that she should or that it was the right thing to do because it takes two to make a marriage work.  She had to go because he didn’t know that she was calling me.  I was afraid for her.  I headed out to the grocery store but before I got there she texted me “How soon can you come pick me up?”  It was 9 pm but I went back home, grabbed some clothes and left right then and there.

I called my ex to tell him I was leaving town to go get her and to please pray everything went well.  He asked if she knew I was going to get her and was upset that she contacted me to rescue her and not him.  He asked if my car would make it.  He did not say he would pray, he did not ask if I would be OK driving through the night since I was leaving at 9 pm, he did not ask if I wanted him to go with (I would have said no) and he did not offer to help with the expense of rescuing our daughter.  I found those things to be very telling…

I drove the entire night, speeding all the way – at least 10 to 15 mph over the limit – and prayed the entire time I would not get a ticket.  I managed to shave about an hour and a half off my 12 hour drive and there were no officers in sight, thank God!  She was waiting outside her house with some boxes and bags of her stuff.  All of her stuff, by the way, is terrible.  In the 6 months they were married he hadn’t bought her anything, not even clothing essentials.  She needs to just throw it all away, homeless people wouldn’t even want what she has – it was that bad.  But we loaded it into my car, she went back into the house and brought out a puppy, got into my car and away we went.  We drove another 12 hours to the ocean and spent the night there, although I only got 4 hours of sleep because of the puppy…  The next morning, Monday, we found a little beach and went wading in the ocean and looking for shells and little rocks to take home.

The ocean is my happy place, just saying.

We then drove another 12 hours home.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired in my life.  I drove for 36 solid hours with only 4 hours of sleep and a couple hours of beach time in there.  I was afraid to let her drive because she hadn’t been driving for the last 7 months, her license was expired and she kept accepting her husbands phone calls and was still constantly texting him.

Their phone conversations became very predictable, I kept telling her that she didn’t have to take his calls and didn’t have to stay on the phone, to just hang up, but she wasn’t strong enough to do it.  He would be mean and make her feel bad, she would say lots of things like “I’m sorry”, “I didn’t know this would be so hard on you”, “It’s not your fault” and be curled up in a little ball on the passengers seat, crying.  Once she was reduced to a puddle of tears and completely broken down he would start to be nice to her until he could make her laugh and by the end of the conversation he was back to being the nice guy.  And he said the craziest stuff to get her to come back to him – like he was going to have an experimental brain surgery the next day at 2 pm that would eliminate his second personality.  He finally called the surgery a trans-orbital lobotomy and I about laughed my head off.  No surgeon is going to schedule anybody for brain surgery the very next day, especially any kind of lobotomy.

Once we got home I think I was able to sleep for about 8 hours but was still really wiped out from the trip.  My youngest brother was in town – staying with my ex husband – but wanted to spend Tuesday with me.  I was a little nervous, he is fairly good friends with my ex husband but he and I have never been close and I was afraid he was going to pull some “tough love” on me and tell me how wrong I was for divorcing.  I met him and his daughter at WalMart and he and I sat in the restaurant there while our daughters wandered the store so we could talk.  Going into the conversation it was clear he had only heard my ex’s side of things and thought I was wrong.  That’s always a fabulous start to a heart-to-heart talk…  I tried to be general in things I said about my former husband but when I told my brother that I looked into my future and saw two choices, divorce or suicide, and that I chose to live was when I saw him relax.  He was glad I chose to live.  I think we can build a relationship now.

My bosses called me in to work because it was really busy.  I told them I couldn’t because I was spending the day with my brother – which they had known about for weeks – but they kept bugging me, which was unusual, so I told my brother I was sorry, asked him if he would look at my swamp cooler (which had stopped working) and took my daughter to work with me for a few hours.  My sister came to the shop and picked up my daughter and the two of them went to have coffee with my brother and niece and when the rush at work was over I went and joined them and then we went bowling, which was a lot of fun.

The next day, Wednesday, I took my daughter to work with me again because there was no way I was going to leave her alone for 11 hours talking and texting her husband.  I had spent most of the 12 hour car trip home talking to her about the people at my work and how much they meant to me.  I also told her how she could be helpful to us – cleaning the pedicure bowls in between clients when we’re busy, cleaning the utensils, setting up the trays, asking customers what lotions and sugar scrubs they wanted, asking customers if they wanted a soda or water, getting their polish color, etc.  I described how the pedicure chairs worked and told her I would pay her $20 a day out of my own pocket for her help.  She has been a very good worker and my bosses fell in love with her and immediately started treating her like one of their family, which made me love working there even more.  On payday they even gave her $100 for her help, entirely on their own, I didn’t ask them to pay her and I didn’t tell them I was paying her, they thought she was just there helping out for something to do.

She spent most of the first week waffling between staying with me where she could finish high school, work for my bosses, have a car and a new phone and be taken care of – or going back to him and be controlled, miserable and broke.  Going back to him almost won, I was so scared for her because it seemed like he had such a grip on her soul.  And to be honest, it’s probably my bosses that made the biggest difference in her decision to stay, even more than me.  They treat her like a niece, they love on her and tease her and ask her go with them when they run errands or help them with projects.  They’re teaching her how to be a nail tech and do things “The Asian Way”.  On Thursday they had her and I over to their house for dinner so she got to try her first “Vietnamese burritos”.  The older brother, I think I call him Hank here, really dotes on her and has gone out of his way to be kind to her.  He is being what her father should have been to her.  After just a week of working with me she now loves my bosses as much as I do and I honestly believe they tipped the scales in her decision to stay here with me.  I thank God for them every day.

Last night she agreed to change her phone number and not give it to her husband or his family so I got her a new phone – however she has gone to the dark side and got an iPhone… – and she wants to be called by her middle name from now on as a way to completely change her life and start over.  I’m so proud of her and I’m so very relieved that she’s going to stay with me, words just can’t even describe how I feel right now.

So this morning I actually put on some eye makeup and lip goo and went to work.  Todd’s first reaction was to laugh so I’m thinking that whole does-he-like-me thing is all in my head.  His brother, the man who noticed and commented about me dying my eyebrows at the same time I dyed my hair, didn’t appear to notice at all until the others pointed it out to him.  My female boss gave me lots of compliments and wanted to know if I was going on a date after work.

No, no dates for me.  But it was an excellent opportunity to make a joke using the “Honey” line and I made the most of it.  The brother boss asked (in front of a full house of customers) if I was sure I didn’t have a date and I said “No, only you… Honey.”  And we all laughed.  Todd said “So you admit it.” and I said no, that it was just such an excellent joke I couldn’t pass it up and then we all laughed some more.

It was an extremely busy day and I felt good about how I looked – and – I beat my record and made more money than I had made in a single day up until now so I was pretty happy.  My female boss said we were so busy because I wore makeup today and therefore I must wear makeup every day from now on.  They are so superstitious, it’s kind of cute.

Then I started noticing that Todd wasn’t making eye contact with my made-up eyes at all like normal and at some point he started to give off a vibe that makes me wonder if he’s upset with me about something.  Maybe because I called his brother Honey in my too-good-to-pass-up-joke?  I give up.  I’m not even sure why I want to know if he likes me or not because a positive answer would just ruin everything.  At this moment the male species is better off remaining a mystery to me.

After a long day at work we went to my female bosses apartment for some “non-spicy” soup.  Ha!  Oh, and immediately upon arriving the fiance of my female boss was informed in Vietnamese that I wore makeup to work today whereupon he turned to me and said I looked “radiant” today. Oh boy.  I’m about ready to throw all of my makeup away and go back to being plane Jane, I feel like it’s causing more problems than it’s worth.  There wasn’t much spice in the soup but it builds so by the end of my small bowl of soup my eyes were watering and somebody asked me if I was crying.

Almost.

After dinner we had watermelon, blessedly cool, sweet and take-away-the-spice-from-my-tongue watermelon.  Todd reverted a bit to his normal, joking self while cutting the watermelon but then right after stalked away in a brown study.

Yep, I’m giving up.

In the middle of my watermelon eating I received a text from my younger daughter this evening asking if I knew about Timmy.  Timmy was the orange tabby cat that we had for 13 years and he died today.  My ex-husband called my younger daughter to let her know and she texted me.

I was upset that he didn’t tell me.

I stayed a bit longer until 10 pm and then left.

An hour later my ex-husband called me and tersely informed that Timmy died and he was doing me the courtesy of calling me instead of informing me by text message.  It was our first conversation since we met at the courthouse and filed the divorce paperwork.  After performing his public service announcement he wanted to know why I hadn’t reached out to our older daughter (who doesn’t like me).  He informed me that I’ve really hurt her and I needed to be the grown up here and reach out to her.

He seems to be all about her and it’s gotten worse over the last several years.  A mutual friend has noticed that they have an unhealthy relationship.  Yes, they do.

He did ask if I was safe, I have to give him credit for that.

And I don’t think he could help himself so he closed our phone conversation with another guilt trip saying, again, that he doesn’t know why I left him or why I despise him so much that I wouldn’t even tell him the address of my new place.

Ummm… his parents told him my new address so I didn’t feel the need to tell him and besides, my telling him felt (to me) like I would be giving him permission to drive by and check it out, maybe even knock on my door and try to visit me sometime.  Maybe even give me more guilt trips in person.  No thank you!

He finally hung up and now I’m in my own brown study and I wrote my oldest daughter an email.  It will probably backfire but at least I reached out to her, eh?  Here it is:

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Dear Oldest Daughter,

Dad just called me and told me about Timmy and I wanted to say I’m so sorry.  I’m sorry that he died and I’m sorry I haven’t reached out to you sooner and I’m sorry that I’ve hurt you.
I don’t know what else to say except I’m sorry.
I was sad that you didn’t come in to get your nails done like you said you would before your Mexico trip – I hope you had a great time and touched lots of lives down there, I thought about you a lot the day you said you were leaving.
I honestly believe that you don’t really want a relationship with me and that has made it easier for me to say that I’m giving you space instead of owing up to what it really is – I’m afraid to reach out to you because I don’t think you want to be around me and I’m tired of being unwanted.  I feel like I’ve never met your expectations or been good enough for you as a mother or a human being.
Again, I’m sorry, that is a wrong attitude on my part.  I would like to get to know you for maybe the first time and I’d like you to get to know me.  Not the me you think you know but the me I really am.  Maybe we could start over?  Or maybe you could just give me a place to start a conversation from.  Write me a nasty letter and tell me what you really think of me and how much you hate me.  At least we could have some sort of meaningful conversation then.
No matter what, I do love you.
Mom.
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So I’m sad, I’m mad and I’m bewildered on today, the day the cat died.  I think it’s a good time to go to bed.

Yesterday I moved the remainder of my stuff out of my former home.  Eight hours of packing the last little bit that I hadn’t gotten to before, lifting and moving all those boxes, totes and small bits of furniture left me stiff, sore and starving but it’s over.  It was so strange to see the sum total of my worldly possessions after 41 years of life and almost 21 years of marriage crammed into a 10′ x 15′ mini storage unit.  It felt like I should have had so much more and yet some of it I hadn’t even wanted to take.

A wonderful lady, who until yesterday I had considered more of an acquaintance than a close friend, showed up with her husband, one of their teenaged sons and their pickup truck and stayed for 5 hours helping me take 4 pickup loads and 2 trailer loads to my mini storage unit. I was embarrased that I was completely broke (the mini-storage cost more than I expected and left me with $7 until payday), I couldn’t even buy them pizza or sodas but I was sooooo very grateful for them, they were the only help I had… besides my soon-to-be-ex-husband and older daughter.

That infuriating man was pretty decently behaved yesterday, much to my surprise.  He had seemed offended that I didn’t ask for his help moving.  Nope, I can’t win.  My response to that was that he had made it very clear that he was not going to help me leave him in any way, shape or form so that was why I hadn’t asked him.  He countered with something along the lines of yes, he did say that to me but since I was going to leave him regardless he wanted to make the transition as smooth as possible.

I read that as him wanting me out of his house as soon as possible even if he has to help me go.  It suddenly seemed very appropriate to make him move my piano one more time. 

So I said he could help and in the end I was very grateful for his assistance and told him so.  The reward for my gratitude was a earnest, heartfelt plea for the girl he married, who was “madly in love with him”, by the way, “and he loved her in return” to come back to him because it’s not too late…

Gag me with a spoon.  That girl never loved him “madly” and I’ve had 20 years of his “love” and I’m not going to put up with another day of it.  However, after the conversation that led to my last post “If I Had Done What You’ve Done” my sole response to stuff like that is now and forevermore “I understand why you think/feel that way but I’m doing the right thing”. 

He walked away feeling confident that I am in the wrong and that he is the victim here but I walked away… Free.

The last time I spoke with my soon-to-be-ex-husband we discussed dividing up the household items and what not and something he said to me caught my attention.    I had asked him if we switched lists of stuff and he was only going to get what was on my list would he feel that it was fair?  His response was “If I had done what you’ve done I would be happy just to get away with a car and a place to stay.”

Uh, excuse me, what have I done?

His clarification was “If it was really as bad as you say it was I would be happy just to run away screaming.”.

20 years of marriage and that’s his justification for leaving me homeless, no alimony, with a bare minimum of “stuff” and having to wait 3 – 5 years to see any profit from selling the house.  It feels like he’s saying I deserve to have nothing in the same way that some people say a girl who wears tight clothing deserves to get raped.  That isn’t what he actually said but it feels like that’s what he meant.  What an ass.

I’ve been counseled by friends to get an attorney and take him to the cleaners, force him to sell the house immediately and ask for alimony.  It’s tempting, it truly is because this man is really pissing me off.  But in the end, it’s not who I am –  and still I have to live with myself for (hopefully) a long, long time.  On top of that I am more and more convinced that I am doing the right thing.  I KNOW that God is my provider and He will make a new life for me, just look at my amazing new job and the housing program I qualify for!  I also know that the man I married will have to answer to God for how he treated me and in light of that I pity him.

And if you know my husband please feel free to say anything you like to him – except the fact that I have this blog.  I’m done trying to shield his feelings but I would like to preserve what still feels like my private space to vent.  🙂

So call it walking the extra mile, call it turning the other cheek, call it whatever you like – I know I’m walking the path God has set me on, He will take care of me and my life will turn out good!

Yesterday/Monday, was… was… well it was a lot of things.  It was my one and only day off this week so I:

Deposited my check, notarized a will, picked up a hot-spot to make up for my lack of internet at my sister’s apartment and went to the local glass-blowing art studio to ask about getting a couple of dishes custom made for my acrylic powder and monomer.

All of this was on my way to my first counseling appointment at the women’s shelter.  The nice thing was that I’ve seen this counselor last year for about 4 months so it was a lot easier to catch her up to where I’m at currently than if we had never met before.  One of the questions she asked is why I’m still meeting with my husband, what am I trying to accomplish by continuing to meet with him like this? 

I pondered her question all the way to the new nail salon I’m trying to get a job at.  I met with the owners, two brothers and a sister. I did a pedicure on one of the brothers and I did an acrylic fill on the sister.  The other brother said they would need to talk amongst themselves because they are all partners but he thought everybody liked me and would let me know if I can work there soon.  It’s a MUCH better salon, everything is super sanitary, much more upscale and spa-like than where I’m at now but in spite of the higher quality most of the services are only about $5 more expensive than where I’m at now.  The owner stressed repeatedly how much they are a family and if I came to work there I would be joining their family.  The comission is also 10% higher…  I REALLY want to work there!  The downside is that it’s a new salon, only been open for about 2 months, so they’re not very busy yet.  I asked if they thought I would be able to take home at least $200/week to cover my bills and they said yes so I’m willing to give them a shot.  Hopefully they’ll give me a shot as well!

When that was done I texted my husband that I would be late to our scheduled 5 pm meeting because I was still trying out at the new salon.  His response?  “As you wish”.  That should be this romantic reference to the Princess Bride but from him all I sense is sarcasm every time he says it.  Ugh.  I called him when I was done at the new salon to let him know that I was enroute to our meeting and his voice was terse and I felt like he was upset with me.  I arrived at our dinner location to find him waiting, as stoic as ever and oozing negativity.  Ugh again.  I ordered my meal – I have got to stop buying lots of food when we meet like this because as usual, I had about four bites and then lost my appetite so that was $20 bucks down the drain – and then we sat down to talk because this was a “talking meeting”. 

He said I called the meeting so what did I want to talk about, I asked him to tell me his thoughts/response to my letter defining emotional abuse and explaining why our relationship qualified as abusive.  The long and short of it is that he continues to believe that he was not abusive and has never abused me.

Apparently to him abuse is defined by whether or not the intention of the abuser is to be abusive or not.

I began to realize we will never see eye to eye on this topic.  And even though we didn’t bring up this time, we will never be on the same page regarding his church either.

Once again he pushed me for a commitment to restoring our marriage.  I finally told him, flat out, that the answer is no.  I am not committed to restoring our marriage and I do not want to be married to him any more.

That Guy tried to show up again but I didn’t fall for it this time.

He didn’t laugh in my face but it certainly felt like he was amused.  He said “Why Are You Here?  Clearly, you haven’t filed any paperwork yet so you must want this to work out in a corner of your heart.”

Time stopped.  Having been asked the same question twice in the same day demands an answer.  Why WAS I there?  What on earth was it I was trying to accomplish by being there, by agreeing to meet with him weekly?

I’ve been doing lots of soul-searching in the last 24 hours, trying to come up with whatever it is that won’t let me just let it go and move on.  I think I know but I’m going to kick it around for another day or two before I write it down.

We met again at the resturant last night – same chain but a different location.  That Guy who met me last week did not show up tonight. 

Of course, that could possibly be laid at my feet (mostly) this time…  I wanted to meet him face to face to explain something I had done that I knew he wouldn’t be happy about and rather than pussyfoot around it all evening I started the night off with it.  In short – I did our taxes, as I have for nearly every year of our marriage, and what we decided to do with the tax return (before I left him) was to fix the bathrooms in the house.  The showers in both bathrooms were getting moldy and needed to be torn out and replaced.  He got a quote to repair them and said he needed X amount of dollars.  I did the taxes and lo and behold, they came out to a couple of hundred more than he said he needed.  Once again, God provides, yay!

That wasn’t the part where I did something he wouldn’t like.  That part comes in as I was going over the taxes one last time trying to make sure I didn’t have any errors that would cause it to be rejected.  I found some errors, for our girls I had clicked a wrong button that caused the tax software to say that our two children did not qualify as dependents.  When I unclicked the button the software counted them as dependents and, viola, more money was added to our tax return.  I fixed one more error and the total of “extra” money was $1100.  Yippee!  I decided to not tell him about the extra money, have it deposited into my personal bank account and use it to make a payment on my beauty school bill that I still owe $2,000 on.  The reason I decided not to tell him about my keeping the money to make a school payment with it is because he has never been the least interested in paying that bill with “our” money.  I have sold my personal possessions ( against his wishes) to make payments on that bill and because it is not paid in full the owners of the school have threatened to have my license revoked, something I didn’t know they could do.  Since I became a nail tech I have not yet made enough money to survive and pay my school bill but I fully intend to do so as soon as I can.  But back to the tax money, I really didn’t think he would find out about it…  the darn government sent two letters, one for each of us saying they had deposisted the money into two different accounts.  He opened his and then called me about it, all confused.  Yes, yes, I know, be sure your sins will find you out and all that…

So maybe the reason I didn’t see That Guy from last week was because I opened our conversation by jumping right into what I had done with the taxes. 

From there the conversation went to how dissapointed he was that I obviously didn’t trust him, why hadn’t just told him what I wanted to do with the extra money – he would have said yes to paying the school bill (yeah, right), how could he ever trust me when he keeps finding out things that I’ve done and hidden from him, yada yada, yada…

Yeah, it all went downhill pretty fast.

After that I decided to bite the bullet and talk about his church.  It was immediately obvious that neither of us had – or was going to – change our views on his church and then all chances of seeing That Guy again, probably for a very long time, dissapeared like mist after the sun rises.  After discussing his church for 5 – 10 minutes he decided that we would stop talking about the church because it was clear that nothing positive would come from the conversation.  Yes, you read that right, he decided to end that conversation and move on, not me.

From that point on we managed to have a fairly good conversation about other aspects of our relationship.  We even agreed to keep our “date” for this coming Tuesday.  I had previously agreed to go to a movie with him on the conditions that “dates” were to be fun, friendly hang-out times and that I would not be discussing relationship issues during those times.

Several things became very clear to me last night and I’m mulling them over and trying to decide what to do.  In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the “dates” while they last and I’ve been invited to visit my younger daughter and her new husband for Easter so my time and attention will now be directed towards preparing for that trip.

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.