Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It's All About Choices - Part 3...

Michael was an avid reader, a talented carpenter, electrician,
plumber. He could build a house. Re-build an engine.
He taught himself to repair antique clocks.
He had, in my eyes, the potential to be successful and happy.
Yet, with all of that, his attitude was reflected in his
favorite phrase, "Life sucks and then you die."
He made that true... for him.
To this day, I cringe whenever I hear anyone make that

In his eyes, nothing was ever enough. Nothing was ever quite
right. But, he wanted all he wanted without effort.
He wanted easy. He wore me down.
I wore myself down trying to create a life that needed two
people participating equally.

Finally, I realized that I was disappearing.
I had allowed myself to become almost completely absorbed
by him. I had no goals or dreams for myself. I existed entirely
to nurture him and his life.
I knew then that if I continued living that way, that I would
eventually fade away... and die.
My self would be gone forever. I would cease to exist.
I had to leave.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that there are very few
things I do quickly. I am a planner. I am an analyzer.
I am becoming more spontaneous... slowly.
But, eleven years ago, I wanted to be as prepared as possible.
I spent the next year saving money. Michael was unemployed
for the first nine months of that year.

February 1, 1997 I rented a small apartment about five miles
north of where we lived.
Michael and I were working opposite shifts, so I was able to
move small loads to the apartment while he was at work.
I was a nervous wreck.

March 1, 1997 I told Michael that I was moving out.
He said nothing, but I could see the muscles in his jaw
contracting. He wouldn't look at me. He kept staring at
the television. I asked him if he had anything to say, if he
wanted to talk. Almost in a whisper, he finally replied,
"What's to talk about? Your mind's made up."
I spent that night in a fitful sleep on the couch.
The next morning I loaded more of my things in my car
and drove to my apartment.
I don't remember my first night there.


none said...

That was brave. I'm glad you had the spirit and courage to get out and carry on.

k said...

Your method of leaving was wondrous.

I wish I'd done that. Instead - as methodical as I am in so many other ways - when I left, I left with nothing. Walked away and left everything behind except a few personal items. And suffered harsh consequences as a result.

Not to mention, being treated to little sermons on how self-centered I was for insisting on the very little I claimed as mine. Part of the logic was that since I'd earned the vast majority of our income, I didn't actually need to take things with me. No, I could just work more and buy replacements! Even though real estate had hit the skids and I had no income at the time.

Two other things jumped out at me from this post. First: Michael had a number of really fine qualities.

My last therapist reminded me of this. There's a reason you got with him in the first place. That reason is not always negative. You saw in Michael his talents, his brains, his potential.

My first husband had good qualities, too. In spades.

See, we weren't just picking losers to pick losers. We were drawn by very positive attributes. This is important to remember, especially in the depths of self-loathing. It's another reason why the self-loathing is incorrect.

The second point? Again, a parallel with my own first husband.

It's that parasite thing.

They glom on to you, set those sharp hooked tapeworm teeth into your skin, and suck you dry until there's nothing left but an empty mummified husk.

They do that because of the greatest selfishness displayed by humans. It's a type of cannibalism, but performed not for hunger or ceremony; it's impelled for no other reason than perfect greed.

They use a combination of excusing it, trying to hide it, and manipulating people into thinking they somehow deserve it, in order to get others to go along.

They can be breathtakingly clever at this. Separating us from our support network, of course, is an important part of that. It leaves us all alone, with no one to tell us, --Hey, what he's doing is wrong.-- And no one to stretch out a helping hand to steady you and hold you and help pull you away.

Therefore: You, all on your own, realized you must leave - and then you made it happen. Not only that? You did it well. You prepared, you got yourself a new place to live, set everything up so you wouldn't end up on the streets or starving or floating into nothingness.

You did this of your own volition. 100%.

That is extraordinary.

I have great admiration for you.

AspergantuS said...

I am very proud of you for making it through this veil of doom you had to endure, and emerging on the other side, battle worn, but intact. That alone says scores about you and we are all blessed for it. there going to be a part 4?

Me thinks the story doesn't quite end here....

just Pondering.......

Jean said...

Hammer - Courage, but at the same time... scared shitless.

k - you've given me some points to make for the next post. Thanks.
He was a master of manipulation.
...and, I'm seeing more and more similarities between you and I.
Comforting realization to know others can relate.

Mick - Part 4 will probably be the worst. I'll try to make it the last part.

Anonymous said...

Being scared doesn't mean you weren't courageous -- being courageous is doing what you need to do even if you are afraid. If there is no fear, there is no courage.

boneman said...

Oh may have not actually realized what part four REALLY is, yet.

Turns out that michael actually hired a thirteen dollar an hour hooker to paint a red spot on his head....he faked his suicide, moved to Arizona and changed his name.

Anonymous said...

Good God. How much worse could it be?

Corby said...


I understand, sadly... I moved myself out once during the day alone and worried that my own version of your Michael (who's name was also Michael) would come home and find me.

We are scarred, but stronger.


Jean said...

Sparrow - most of my brain knows what you say is true. At the time, well...

Berry - think she cost that much?

Jack - well, there is what lead up to his last day.

Corby - another survivor, you. I guess scars can add strength at times.

Anonymous said...

Jean - Yes, the las day. Sorry, what was I thinking?

boneman said...

well, she probably thinks she's gonna see a payday eventually, but, well, we know how that goes, eh?

On the other hand, consider this....
how would you feel about him had he not done the deed.
In fact, when I mention this to folks I know, I always point out that he borrowed the gun, so, what wouyld the two of you think had this been the case?

Living Dees Life said...

i agree with K. My exhusband was (is) a master and computer genius. he's a brilliant and smart man, i don't deny that one bit. when he worked he had the kind of jobs that would make a king jelous of the income. but he didn't or wouldn't or something and was just absolutely a parasite. and manipulative and hurtful and angry and i dont know why he was always angry at me and wanted to hurt me.

the reason you stated why you married Michael is the same reason I married H. I didn't think anyone else would have wanted me to be thier wife. looking back i realize that i was wrong and there was plenty who did want to be my husband would have made much better spouses and i didn't see it then but i see it now when its too late.

you know honey, people tell me all the time "its been 2 years you should be over it by now", i dont necessarily think so. in the scheme of 10 years together, 2 is a blink of the eye.

i hope that you talking about this helps you. your a wonderful person and dont forget that. and you have wonderful people who love you and dont forget that either.

and i know from personal experience that believing that last paragraph is hard sometimes.

Jean said...

Jack - not a problem, dear.

Berry - I would have preferred that he had gone on with his life... only sober. I still would have divorced him.

Blaez - 1. people who are angry with themselves often take it out on others.
2. it is not too late. You are smarter now.
3. We heal at our own pace, not by anyone else's schedule. As long as we are making the honest effort to heal, it will happen.
4. Writing this is definitely helping. And, yes that paragraph is sometimes hard to believe, but I'm getting better at that too... much better. It applies to you, too, dear.

I'll be by to visit your blog shortly. Sorry it's been so long.
Thanks for being here.

Living Dees Life said...

don't worry about the infrequent visits, your not the only one that forgets to visit sometimes. i either have too much or not enough time on my hands these days, lol. today (or now yesterday) i seemed to have too much.

*hugs* and lots more *hugs*

Anonymous said...

i find it just so harrowing that in these comments are so many that say: yes, me too. and I have to say this also, yes me too. and you are all my good examples, because you managed to get away while I am still in the money-saving process. that was a a big help for me that you wrote that, Jean. thank you so much.

Jean said...

Hugs back attcha, Blaez!

Antonia - I'm glad it helped. We are not the only ones. You can do it.

Chickie Carmarthen said...

I've just read the first three installments (study break) and I just want to say that I'm so glad you left.

Jean said...

Chickie - thanks, it was a 'must do'.