The Talk

I know those text meant he was drunk. I could tell by the writing.

I did respond to say I don’t know what to say to you and his response was abrupt, that he was sorry and he wouldn’t let it happen again but he thought I might want to talk.

I agreed to talk. I knew I could and would hang up at the first sign of tension.

I didn’t expect to be on the phone with him for so many hours, the entire day in fact.

It was equally one of the most sad, yet cathartic conversations I have ever had with someone. It felt like genuine honesty and emotion (on his part) and because there had been so much trauma during our relationship, built on our individual past traumas, there was a lot to unravel and unpack.

I think the one thing that I sit here wondering this morning, which I plan to speak to my therapist about this week, is what I am really feeling. I am unsettled, which I would expect. But I feel disconnected to a sort of extreme, which I didn’t expect. And, perhaps, I feel a sense of guilt for feeling less empathy that I might have had Scott shared these traumas in real time and we had this conversation at the right time in our relationship.

The conversation took most of the day. It was very calm on my part. Mostly calm on his part except there were several sincere crying points. I went on mute or he would hang up when these got too heavy. He was sober/not drinking for almost the entirety of the conversation until the end, when he became overwhelmed and admitted he was an alcoholic.

We were able to walk through the exact turning point, which I knew but never understood why I was paying for it for months. I’m not exactly sure how much I can (or want) to write and mostly because I’m so exhausted from it. But, not in a way I would expect of myself. I don’t find myself wanting Scott back – I did find myself wishing I could comfort him, because I know how it feels to sit in pain alone and it’s horrible. But beyond that, the rest of what I feel is very muddled right now.

So I will start high level. We know the turning point was Thanksgiving. We never recovered from the episode where I chastised him while he was helping me. There was also a conversation that weekend where I just have raised income again. He felt defeated and scared. He felt like I was his mother all over again and then it made him angry at me.

I found out his mother and father put him in a car at 13 and dropped him off at the door of a juvenile detention center. When he did his time there and was released, they did not pick him up and he was effectively homeless so his young uncle came to get him. His Uncle could not support him so he put him to work building cars. He never was welcome or went back home unless he visited. His parents always told him he would never (and has never) amounted to anything and would never do anything right. He told me his mother was a horrible person who he just wanted to get away from, but I don’t know much more than that. He did say she never offered him a day of comfort that he can recall. He had just read one of the books my therapist suggested and realized he was an avoidant attached style. While I knew pieces of this story (and this is till yet a piece as he couldn’t get through it without breaking down) I had no idea of his age, what his parents had really done, or how he truly felt about his mother.

He admitted he never recovered from Thanksgiving and everything went downhill from there. From my side, I always felt I was working an uphill battle since Thanksgiving and never gaining ground. I felt demoralized and penalized for that one fight and couldn’t understand why he continued to attack me for the same thing and go back to it.

Even though he said he tried many, many times to talk about it (he raised it many times, thats true, but within arguments and not with this level of vulnerability) he was never in a space where he was ready to forgive me. Or, he didn’t believe or understand the true value of the relationship. Unfortunately, for Scott, the loss had made him realize that one moment cost our entire relationship an opportunity to build stability.

He told me how he made it through the first week with his friends telling him to get on the dating websites and go out and have fun. He said he tried in and off and couldn’t. He told me how he would be sitting watching a random commercial and get watery eyes. And then something else and get watery eyes. Until he finally sobbed at a news story with Lester Holt and said to himself “this, this is what’s she’s been talking about. This is a broken heart.” I felt sad he didn’t even understand the feeling until he was in it. Once he was in it, he said he couldn’t control it, and then the gift for his daughter showed up. He said that opened the floodgates and he couldn’t go back. He realized all he had done and felt he could never be sorry enough.

Throughout this, the crying, the sincere emotion, the “I love you’s” didn’t draw me in. It was as if I watched him from a distance. My inner child was terrified of him. He had hurt us so badly so many times that there was no way in hell we were even peeking around a corner. Conversely, Trixie was nowhere to be seen. I had no need to drive a point home, correct his story line, offer my opinion or any of it. I was able to comment from the viewpoint of one being outside the relationship looking back. But not looking back two weeks, I realized I was looking back much longer than that and assume when we were away in February and he left me the second time that I had actually disconnected then and hadn’t accepted it.

This feeling was very strange. I wanted to help him and offer support, yet I didn’t want to cross any emotional lines. I didn’t cry once. I didn’t say I love you. I didn’t feel for myself, my emotion was already drained over the last 6 weeks. I did say I miss my friend. That’s the most I could offer and I know how this must have hurt him. If he feels about me the way I feel about Tony, the loss of “the one” is soul crushing. So, if what he says is truly Scott, I can’t help but feel for him.

I still don’t know some of the other triggers, my criticisms, post Thanksgiving that drug him further down, but he referred to them several times. I wasn’t in a place to hear them and I don’t think we could have discussed them. Just getting to the root cause was work enough.

Once we got there, he did become more of an open book. Maybe. If I can trust him. If this isn’t some tactic to pull me back in. He’s not pulling me, but I would believe he was authentic.

He talked about the smoking and drinking. Stated he wants to stop. He talked a lot about people’s expectations of him, and how he feels a bit like a circus performer having to adjust to everyone’s expectations. He talked about wanting to give me everything financially and how this scared him because of my judgement. He talked about what he saw for our future very specially and what he planned for it, but he had never spoken to me about this. He threw in a couple times things he planned for us, or would buy for me, or places we would travel to. I didn’t respond to any of it other than acknowledging a statement.

Scott has never spoken this openly sober. He’s never displayed any emotion. He’s never been vulnerable like this. I remained calm and as objective as possible. I removed myself from the relationship so it made it easier.

Unfortunately, Scott still had enough language within the conversation that is worrisome. Everything he does is to please me is the most worrisome of all. He “says” he wants his life to be at my service, that he wants “this girl” back.

He made an appointment for therapy this week. He’s still not all in, but feels like he’s going crazy now because he can see what happened and wants to know why he sabotaged an entire relationship. He asked why we couldn’t do the work together. He said he’s doing it for me, because it’s important to me. While I tried a few times to say it needs to be important to him, I laid it down, it’s not my place to tell him what should be important to him – he’s going to need to figure that out for himself.

By the evening he was drunk, and sad and lonely. There were more tears. Lots of apologies. Actual direct apologies. None of the veiled “but it’s really your fault” apologies. Lots of declarations of love. And a lot of gratitude.

I was most thankful for the gratitude. While it took a lot out of me (I am worn down today) – Scott has no one. Absolutely no one he can trust or talk to and be vulnerable. I know it can’t be me, but right now I can’t deny him. As long as I can control myself and not feel pulled back to relationship, I can temporarily support. If he reverts to anger and frustration because he’s not getting what he wants, I will know this was somewhat of an act. Maybe not all of it and maybe not intentionally.

He sent lots of flowers today and my favorite snack. He said thank you for being there. I’m sure he is equally unsettled as he didn’t get anything from me clearly – no indication of friendship, relationship, communication – nothing specific. He asked directly if I felt what he felt, if I ever loved him the way he loves me. He expects me to be clear about what I want, he’s asked multiple times, but he lost my trust and doesn’t get to know what my heart feels anymore. Not beyond the hurt I feel for losing a friend.

The conversation was cathartic. Difficult but cathartic. I didn’t expect that at all with Scott, ever.

My takeaway is why do I feel so distant and cold towards his pain? How was I able to disengage when I’ve never done so before? Did I ever really love him? Is he so broken that it scares the shit out of me? Why is there some feeling of longing, hurt and nurture side by side with this cold feeling? Did I really want him to be like this during relationship?

I think his pain is the thing I could never put my finger on from the beginning. His pain speaking through the bragging and bravado. His pain speaking through the anger and abandonment. His pain in his cruelty. His pain was his wall and it’s obvious now. I just didn’t know that’s what I was responding to then, but I identified it the first time I met him. I’m pretty sure this was the unidentifiable thing that’s been a mystery to me all along. This man is in so much pain and it’s so buried that he doesn’t even realize what it’s done to him. Until he met me.

I’m ok. I will be ok. I knew it after the first text he sent. He released me with that text. It’s horrible to say but I needed the validation that he hurt. The phone call was beyond my expectation – he hurts more than I thought possible of Scott.

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.

5 thoughts on “The Talk”

  1. Wow, wow, wow. That is a lot to process. I am sorry he had an absolute shitshow of a childhood. I always believe there is a special place in Hell for horrific parents.

    However, he is a grown ass, intelligent man. He can’t keep falling back to his childhood as his excuse. It was shitty, he knows it, he needs extensive therapy to deal with it. He hadn’t done that it seems. I know I sound harsh, but I am looking out for you. You don’t need a fixer upper for a boyfriend. You deserve some one ready, willing and able to be in a relationship.

    Your detachment is your intuition saying, “nope, don’t need this drama”. M- you cannot fix him, you probably cannot be his friend because he will be exhausting and you need your energy focused in other areas. You got that ever elusive closure. Now stay away from him. He is going to keep hurting you because his unconscious has already connected you to his mom. No good can come of that. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup – I’m with you there. I don’t think he does blame his parents and I actually think that’s the problem, he hasn’t gone back and done any of the work – he did it with his marriage, but not far enough back to his childhood and that’s why yesterday was so heavy because I think he saw something that devastated him.

      He does need therapy and a lot of it. I wish he would see that. I feel for him so much but I know I cannot help him.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Um. You are ok and handling it because this is growth. This is boundaries. You love him, but you won’t die for loving him. You won’t walk into fire 🔥 and risk yourself for a man who is his own volcano. The love may be there. But he has to heel this shit before he can be the man you need and deserve. And alcohol is an unforgiving wench, it steals a persons best intentions. He has to do this for him, and get through it. And then see what comes next. Let this cautionary bit of you (yes, probably scared shitless a bit) keep you safe.

    You don’t need to be completely crazy to be happily in love. One doesn’t equal the other.


  3. I thought about this overnight. You see the hard work you have done and progress you have made? It was a hard conversation to have with someone you care about, yet you stayed true to understanding and respecting the boundaries you have put in place to protect yourself. You would have to be near dead to hear the genuine and authentic Scott and not desire to offer him comfort. You have to be smarter, wiser Madeline to be who your true self (understanding, compassionate) and know you are not the one who can or should try to help or to comfort Scott. You were not drawn back to him because he *finally* opened up and showed some vulnerability. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

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