It’s Over

This is going to be long and painful but it’s got to come out.

I wish I had a psychologist write this for me so it didn’t sound like such an attack but at this point I don’t even care about his triggers. I am pretty certain now I’ve been gaslighted. I tried so hard those last 2 weeks to the point I felt my entire person slipping from me and it was like watching my 22 year marriage in fast forward and all at once – for joy to utter despair and losing myself just to make someone like me – which meant giving myself up – and even then, that person wasn’t going to be happy with me.

……………….

Dear Scott,

There are so many things I saw as potential, but the things that stood in the way were things you felt defined you which is a pity.

The immaturity, the drinking, the smoking, the codependent relationship with your child and the utter complacency about work are things I’m just not interested in being a part of. These were not the picture you presented to me when I met you. The real fact of the matter, the part I think you are angriest about, is that you couldn’t keep up the facade you sold me on. And then got mad when I called you out on it. It all turned in to “I’m not the man to change” when the man I met was all about change. The man I met wanted to be a better man, not a bitter and unloving partner.

I will never forget how you told me I was the pinnacle of everything you ever wanted. That you felt you hit the lottery with me. When you said that to me, just as when you fell in love with me, you were hiding major parts of yourself from me. So the man I (thought I) was falling in love with isn’t the man I was with at the end.

I didn’t know you smoked or how heavily you drank. I didn’t know that you no longer had peer friends to do activities with, that your social circle consisted of children. I didn’t know that the reason women were jealous of your daughter was was because you have a codependent relationship and treat her like a spouse rather than a child and the lines get very blurry. I didn’t know you were so complacent to sit in one job until retirement despite the fact you are one of the smartest men I know. I didn’t know that you enjoy the fact that you are the “brute force” guy at work, the one they send to go knock some guys over and scare people and you love it. I didn’t know how much anger you held deep, deep within.

You spoke about all the brilliant activities you did: golfing, concerts, hiking, biking, fishing etc. I find out that many, if not most, of these activities are your so called “legends” and stories of old. You haven’t done many of these activities with any regularity since you’ve moved to VA almost 8 years ago. Your entire life revolves around bar and drinking activities.

What’s even more disturbing to me is when you say that most of these activities you have only done drunk, including sex. You actually highlight how drunk you were in any given activity with a badge of honor. But then, you don’t want me to call out an alcohol problem. You told me that you can’t recall the last time you had sex without being drunk and you certainly never had slow sex. You didn’t know what “making love” even meant.

I asked you point blank more than once if you smoked and you said you stopped. Then you said only cigars occasionally. Then you said you would stop all cigars. Finally, in the last argument, you told me I needed to accept your smoking. I’m not going to accept your smoking. I gave a very clear boundary you chose to break right in front of me and then tell me it’s “no big deal” and try and manipulate how I should feel about it. You lied to me about you smoking in general, saying you didn’t smoke at all initially. Then you continue to lie to me about smoking less and trying to quit all together. Finally, when you are faced with me being upset that you crossed my boundary, you unfairly turn it back on me with other arguments and state I “take a bucket of pills ” to reduce my anxiety. Maybe if you asked questions you would know I don’t take any pills ever during a day to reduce anxiety. I don’t anesthetize myself the way you do with alcohol or smoke. But since you don’t know how to ask questions, you wouldn’t know this, you just make assumptions from the pieces you have heard or seen. Turning an argument about cigars into something entirely different is your way of never being accountable for your actions. Not once in our relationship have you said “I’m sorry my action has upset you” or “I was aware this crossed a line”. It’s always “because you do this I do that”. Every action has a justification in my behavior, you can’t seem to find accountability for your own behavior with anything.

You are so smart, so funny and so engaging and yet you hang out with children. You claim “this is how we do it” yet I know of no adults anywhere who do this. You do this because you don’t have any peer friends. Everything revolves around a bar and alcohol. You go into a bar and literally drink as fast as you can to get drunk – that is an alcoholic and immature behavior. Kids do that. When a man who is nearing 50 is sitting there slamming down shots and trying to hide drinks in his jacket to get them out of the bar at the end of the night, he’s a drunk. More than once a week you call me slurring you’re words at 930 at night, Scott. Is this the man you want to be? I thought you were a better man than that. I think you can be. But the more you hang around with children or hang around in a bar the less chance you grow up.

Maybe you like the fact that they don’t challenge you. They don’t talk about anything important. They entertain the nonsense you bring up. They can talk about the random inane nothingness that fills most of your chatter. Unimportant information. Talk about big dreams that will never materialize like gay bars and weed stores. I notice when I am around if I talk about something more serious that anyone is engaged with, you go blank and bored, and people notice. You want to be an entertainer. You want to act the fool. That’s fine. Be a fool. Just not with me. I want a grown up. A man who acts like a grown up and talks like a grown up and behaves like a grown up when I’m out with them. I don’t want to worry about being utterly embarrassed by being with the local drunk. About your child making sure I’m driving you home. I want a man who can speak about important things, who doesn’t feel a need to advertise his salary so he can get a stimulus check, who considers drug dealers and thieves amongst his “friend” group. No judgement you tell me. Well, yes, I have a lot of judgement. You surround yourself with these people because they don’t hold you to a higher standard. They don’t require you to be a better man.

Speaking of your child. I love Lauren, she’s such a lovely spirit. I feel so bad she hasn’t had a decent mother. You have done so many good things for Lauren and I do think you have done a great job of being both mom and dad and being there for her. You have a great relationship. But, You aren’t doing her any favors being her best friend and bar buddy. you wonder why women are jealous and Ive explained this to you before but here’s the right word for it – you are entirely codependent with your child. Stop with the “we” and start living the “I”. You are a 47 year old man. You have a lot of responsibility for yourself, own it and stop acting like your daughter is your spouse. You are unintentionally putting all that pressure on her for your lack of a partner – she’s filling your void whether you realize it or not. She always feels bad when you are alone and she wants you to be happy. Every choice you make in your home doesn’t need to be run by your daughter, you can make these decisions, stop treating her like an adult spouse/partner. It’s unhealthy for her to have such an enmeshed relationship. You’ve taught her how to not respond emotionally and that it’s ok for an adult parent to be an alcoholic. Is that what you want for your own child? Do you know how to make independent decisions? Sometimes I wonder as I rarely hear you say the word “I”. It’s like you can’t think for yourself. You can sugar coat that all you want and say it’s just language, but the psychology of it speaks volumes – you just don’t use the personal pronoun. I was given all the leeway in the world to speak to your daughter and her boyfriend until it no longer suited you, until you could use it against me in anger. You send mixed messages. You were very clear at the beginning that you wanted someone who would be a good mothering influence in her life, well for me that means I don’t go drinking and getting drunk with her boyfriend and watching him take advantage of mine. So the fact that I defended you suddenly was used against me. I simply suggested to her boyfriend to buy you a bottle of scotch because he lives there 4 days a week and you are so generous (and I told you this story the next day because you were too drunk to tell you the night it happened) and your daughter tells you her boyfriend won’t come around because I “yelled” at him. When I told you what I said to him and his reaction, even you thought he was a little shit. But when your daughter tells the story, you throw it back at me a WEEK later. It’s shit like this Scott That shows me me you I can’t trust you to be consistent. When I said I did not “yell” at the child, you said it’s his perception. But when I say your angry with me, my perception doesn’t count.

This is how I know I’m being gaslighted. I can highlight numerous occasions now where you adjust stories to suit your argument.

You told me many, many times I’m the most important woman hands down – until I’m not and need to be “smacked down into my place”. That’s how you treat me. I’m the Queen until you decide I need to be put down a few notches. And when you decide to smack me down, you manage to do it so well, because my insecurities allow you to get right at them, the door opens wide and let’s you right in.

At first I thought every time you said “what do you want to do” or “whatever you want” it was because you really meant it or because you really were trying to lease me but now I’ve come to learn that’s not it at all. It’s because you are simply a people pleaser and you don’t even want to be. That’s where all the “we” nonsense comes from. You think every single thing needs to be aligned on. You can’t start any thought with “I would really like xxx, what would you like?” Everything is open ended. This way, when it doesn’t turn out the way you prefer, you have something to complain about because that’s not really what you wanted anyway. So when you don’t choose the restaurant, it’s much easier to complain about it because you really wanted a different one, but you were not clear about it. Then, many times when I make a decision, it’s not what you really wanted to do and “you did it for me” and were unhappy about it. That’s not flexibility. Talk about being a martyr- you don’t even see yourself up on the cross.

You believe you are clear about things, you believe you say them over and over. You even have these fabulous knack of “I never got to finish my sentence from 6 months ago”. It’s famous. It’s now legendary as you would say. You believe, you really believe, you never had an opportunity to speak your piece. Or that I haven’t heard you repeat the same unclear, ambiguous messages over and over. Doesn’t matter how many times I ask you to clear it up, it’s always the same “just relax” or some form of it.

We have no intimacy. We speak about the most mundane, daily things. Things you can’t speak to any stranger on the street. I hear you tell anyone and everyone the same stories you tell me. How does that make me special? Where is our intimacy? The only form of communication is functional. There are rarely engaging questions from you. I have repeatedly asked you to be more curious and you come up with millions of reasons why not, and still don’t. You don’t know how to have emotional and intimate conversations.

I broke your trust? Supposedly I wrote to my therapist? Here’s the thing you got caught out about, I never write to my therapist other than to confirm and appointment. I have every right to communicate with my friends about anything. You asked me not to communicate to you what I speak to my friends about. So I stopped. Yet, you read something over my shoulder out of context and I broke your trust? I would have clarified or even shown you the text but your stonewalling – another favorite abuse tactic of yours. Once again, had you just asked what you saw in the moment you saw it I would have shared. One night in bed I asked 3 times what Lauren was texting about so late at night and you kept saying nothing, but kept texting – so it’s one for you to have conversations I’m not a part of but not ok for me.

You do not want a mature woman. You need a young girl who wants to go out and act the fool at a bar with you and Lauren’s friends and get drunk and smoke. You want someone to run around and play with. Someone who doesn’t have family ties and will only be bound to you. You don’t like roots because you have none.

I tried to sit this week and speak to you. I tried to set aside time. I kept my tone of voice even. I stayed on topic. I know for a fucking fact I did everything right because by God I wasn’t going to fail this time. And I watched it happened like a scene from a movie I’ve seen a thousand times, but this time I knew it by heart and this time I knew I had no part in the movie, where before I was mistakenly playing a part in your drama. We can’t have a discussion can we? There isn’t one thing, not one single thing, I can bring up that you won’t counter with your own justification. Not one thing you will take actual accountability for.

………

That’s my first brain dump. There’s more to come. I really need some help and support to pull myself through this one. If you’re out there and you’re listening. Stick around and give me all the feedback you can. But not just “get out, be strong” I really want some solid feedback if you have it. I keep feeling like I’ve missed shit along the way. I know this letter isn’t really something you can feedback on because it’s not detailed enough but o think I might write some examples to get your opinions

Author: Madeline Harper

My journey through divorce and an emotional and sexual reawakening. Love, laughter, friendships, family and heartbreak included. And there is sex, lots of it, so close your eyes and turn the page if that's not for you! While I started this blog as an endeavor to journal my thoughts and feelings in an attempt to better understand myself, it has become an amazing platform from which I have met some of the most interesting and wonderful people in my life. My path is often crooked, but I hope you will share in the journey with me.

4 thoughts on “It’s Over”

  1. I grew up in an alcoholic home – my dad. My daughter is now married to an alcoholic in recovery. While I suspect being intimately involved with anyone suffering from addiction, I know alcohol very, very well.

    With my mom and to a degree with my daughter, I see codependence and the need to control everything to keep the partner in line. Money. Social interactions. Job. It makes for a very unhappy people who do not really understand how to have a healthy relationship with boundaries. It took me years of therapy to understand my own fucked-up-ness and overcome it enough to live a happy, peaceful life.
    e
    My daughter loves her husband very much. But she too has been in therapy for depression and anxiety, and it was through that she developed the ability to tell her husband that she loves him but misses the more sober man of their courtship and early marriage, before the pressures of adulthood really zeroed in on their vulnerabilities. Daughter chose therapy and medication to help her cope, son-in-law chose that and alcohol. It’s been nearly six months since his last drink and he’s been back at work for 4 of those months. It’s been a challenge, but they both look healthier and I know my daughter has greater confidence in the strength of her marriage.

    Scott is only capable of pretend, maintaining a facade. You loved that version of himself, and if he were willing he could make the choice to alter his lifestyle and behaviors to make that facade the more natural, day-to-day version he presents to the world. I do not know his demons, what fuels his anger and resentment and need to self-medicate. But you show courage in facing the reality of who he is and understanding the situation will tear you apart if you continue to try and make it work. To be the man you met and fell in love with, he would have to want to be him all the time, for himself, not for you. Because trying to do big life changes for someone else rarely works and tends to breed a lot more anger and a lot more resentment, most of which would be directed at you and like acid sprayed from a super soaker.

    I know you are facing big life changes, and now it is certain you will likely be facing them (at least initially) without a partner to help you through it. But look how far you have come, how many heartbreaks you have endured and survived. It is (likely) impossible to not take this extremely personally and feel like you gave it your very best and failed. Actually, you gave it your very best and won, because you’re hurt and wounded but were able to walk away and see the events that lead to this ending. This is not about your authenticity and less desirable traits. This is about who Scott really is and that his undesirable traits are hard boundaries you will not have as part of your life going forward. Searching for a compatible man to share your life with is so hard, but living with Scott would (eventually) be completely unbearable and make Madeline’s life not worth living.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Janelle – yes, I believe I fell in love with the version of Scott he wanted me to see, and a version he really wants to be but cannot maintain and when he fails to meet (my) expectation, he angers and lashes out. He is 100% exhibiting alcoholic behaviors and I was getting disgusted with them when I was out with him and his kid and her friends – that behavior is fine when you’re 24, but not at 47. He was always drinking to get drunk and I don’t understand it as I didn’t grow up around it. I am so sorry you had lived with it and your daughter has to live through it as well. I was starting to see in this last interaction that Scott was going to want to control me, and reading my text and then not telling me what he read, but getting mad about me writing it indicated he was eventually going to try and control what I was communicating. Scott quoted boundaries many times, and many other psychological expressions because he has taken so many psych classes over his two MBA’s. So he knows the language but I think when you don’t know how to tap into the emotion, the heart and soul of it, the words are meaningless and can be taken out of context. I do think Scott believes himself to be well because he holds a good job and functions well in the every day world, but I believe there are many functional alcoholic’s. I was striving to believe that was a reality we could maintain but it wasn’t and he really didn’t want to at the end. I so appreciate your last paragraph but I can’t seem to get out of my head that I have failed and my worst traits have, once again, been my undoing.

      Like

  2. You know, I have been reading and following your blog(s) since the very beginning. I have an inkling of your insecurity and how hard life can be living with that soul-sucking trait. Nothing but time and hard work is ever going to allow you to forgive yourself for this painful period.

    Scott does not respect you; he never did. My theory is you invested in changing his perspective, proving yourself worthy of his genuine respect and admiration. When he failed to yield and see the reality of your unique and powerful personhood, your validation for being Madeline (with the positive changes you are trying to embrace and incorporate in your own life) crumpled with it. This is the crux of my theory, anyway. When you can step back and separate your emotional investment in this very superficial and angry man, you will see you made mistakes (we all do) and placed your faith in the wrong person: being with Scott trumped taking care of yourself. Overcoming insecurity – no quick fixes here. But I see your complexity and overall personality traits as being greater and more powerful than your less desirable habits and behaviors.

    The boundaries you have – smoking is a good example – are hard limits and need to be respected. Companionship with someone who refuses to accept the very basic premise that you cannot be with a smoker is obviously not the man for you. No amount of bad behavioral traits you have ever exhibited justifies your surrendering this limit. By accepting Scott’s lies about his smoking and not ending it after the first offence – I feel as if that told Scott that if he bullied you hard enough, long enough, you would not only acquiesce to his demands (to smoke or drink or do whatever he wanted) but also apologize for ever believing you are worthy of basic human respect.

    I am glad this did not get to that point. As much as you hurt and question yourself and your judgments, I am glad you’re here and writing.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Addicts until recovery WILL NOT take accountability for anything. I have some experience from this as I have a mentally ill sister who is addicted to EVERYTHING. She is cleanish and 44 and hates herself. Her coping is not to talk about it at all but she has done better than I have seen her do in years. She no longer blames someone for all the things SHE did.

    Like

Leave a Reply to Janelle Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s