Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Finally Breaking Free?

*Be warned...this is a soon-to-be-divorced rant! So it may sound a bit bitter...one emotion I was really hoping to not feel.*

I am not sure where I first wrote about it, whether it was here, or in my personal journal...but somewhere I wrote about emotional detachment. The reason I wrote about it, is because at the time, I knew I needed to remember it...I needed to remember how to do it, and why it was so important to me.

In achieving this detachment:

One has to
develop and maintain a safe, emotional distance from someone whom you have previously given a lot of power to affect your emotional outlook on life.

I had to remind myself of this over and over again last night.

My husband and I had our second 'meeting' regarding our divorce. This time in regard to how we would reach a settlement in regard to our mutually owned property, and possessions.

We met very briefly with a financial counselor, one that my husband had chosen, one recommended by and a client of our *used to be shared attorney*.
That should have told me something right there. We now each have our own separate divorce attorneys, in addition to our *used to be shared attorney*. My husband's divorce attorney is also from the same firm as our *used to be shared attorney*.

I should trust my husband, right? After all, he keeps telling me he does not want me to be left destitute, he wants me to be able to live a comfortable life.

The meeting with the financial planner went OK, I didn't say much, tried very hard to just listen, tried to determine what information he wanted from both of us.

It was the private meeting afterward, between my husband, (or is that soon-to-be-ex-husband?), that left me feeling completely horrible. I had allowed myself to forget during these past two months of living away from him, how very capable he has always been of saying just the right things, in just the right tone of voice, that then leave me feeling as if I am an incompetent idiot. I allow myself to become sucked into his words, his actions every time. I really hate that.

When I left him, I had to rethink every word he said during that private meeting between he and I last night.

I had to take apart each sentence, and think about his use of words.

I then realized...the message he reiterated to me over and over again was...

How much I am ruining his future. How much I am ruining his dreams.

In both of the conversations we have had, since I moved out...not once has he used the words...our future, our dreams...both times it was all about him...both times telling me, that if I tried to take my half share of our marital estate, I would be ruining him, his life.

I am not asking for more than half of our marital assets, in fact, I will probably not receive half, because I do not want him to have to work past his retirement age, I do not wish him to lose the "things", that are so important to him.

Not once did he mention, or ask if we could possibly work things out, or attempt to save our marriage. Yet, he acted so shocked when I left, acted even more shocked when I filed the paperwork. (I keep thinking of the many months I agonized over, feared and hated the thought that I would be causing him emotional pain, so desperately not wanting to, but knowing no other way).

He made me several settlement offers last night. Each one, though had some sort of strings attached to it. Each offer left him in control of my future. What I finally realized is...they left him in control of me.

It saddens me greatly to finally and completely realize... he did not love me...he does not love me...he loved having control of me...he loved me as long as I met his standards.

There were years in which I did not speak to certain people for fear of his disapproval and jealousy, (and if I did, then I had to regurgitate word for word what was said, or he felt I was untrustworthy). Years I sat with my back to the room in restaurants so he could not accuse me of searching out "someone better". Years in which I dressed in baggy clothing, so that my body could not be easily seen by others
(hmmm off tangent here, but maybe that is why I enjoyed participating in HNT). Years in which I cut myself off from family and friends because that proved to him that I loved him. Years in which he told me how I was feeling, not accepting my own words, but telling me, "No, this is how you really feel, or this is how you really are, or this is why you do what you do." Years in which I trusted him to make financial decisions for our family, because he had me convinced that I was completely incompetent to do so on my own, (family history there, and he knew exactly what fears to press, still does, and, OH! How I played into them!).

It's funny...now that I look back on my life...there is no other area that I felt that incompetent...I am quite good at my chosen career, I was a very good substitute teacher (many teachers requested me as their substitute), and, even though I had no formal dance or coaching training, I was an excellent dance team coach. I am very good at organizing committees, and getting things accomplished. I was very good as a Girl Scout Leader, a 4-H Club Leader and as a Cub Scout Leader. I made many mistakes as mother (who doesn't?), but even though my children have not reached their full potential in many areas (sigh, yes, that disappoints me), they both are great people...open-minded, accepting of others, artistically talented, book lovers, bright thinkers, questioners, full of curiosity, introspective, full of laughter and song, loving, and supportive. My hope is that I had some small part in those facets of their personalities. (It often felt as if I was their sole parent for most of their childhoods, one friend I only knew through school functions and soccer teams, thought all the years he had known me that I was a single parent, my husband was a rare presence at such activities).

There are many areas of my life I can look at and feel successful. It is only when I examine my marriage, my relationship with my husband, it is only then that I feel a complete failure as a person, as a woman, as a wife, as a lover.

Those feelings hit me once again full force last night.

I do not know if his behavior was intentional... but it felt so.
Every word, every thought, every statement I made, was questioned (and negated) by him.

He wanted me to do this whole "divorce thing" his way.

When I stated that I would need to discuss things over with my attorney. He then became angry, he then threatened to make this become very difficult if I insisted upon bringing the attorneys into it, if I insisted upon letting it go through the courts.

I walked away from that meeting feeling shaken, feeling as if I was incompetent, that I was a fool, that I was simply incapable.

I had forgotten that, I had forgotten how just a few words from him, could leave me thinking that I am not a good person, not a lovable person unless I meet his standards.

When I review our years together, I have to remember that I did try, I did love him, I still do in my own way, he is not a monster, he is not an evil person, but he is not a man that can simply love. To him I am only worthy of his love, if I agree with him, if I only do the things he wants, how he wants. Then he is happy, and then I am loved.

Ya'know what? That just isn't good enough for me.

Not anymore.

I am lovable damn it!

Just as I am!

I may not be the brightest crayon in the box, but I am smart, I am responsible.

So, from now on, I have to remember the following things, to keep my sanity, to keep feeling strong, and capable.

I have to remember to:

  • Develop and maintain a safe, emotional distance from someone whom I have previously given a lot of power to affect my emotional outlook on life.

  • Establish emotional boundaries between myself and the person I have become overly enmeshed or dependent upon, in order that I might be able to develop my own sense of autonomy and independence.

  • Maintain emotional self-protection and prevention so as not to experience greater emotional devastation from having hung on beyond a reasonable and rational point.

My hope for my husband is that he learns to:
  • Allow people to be who they "really are'' rather than who he "wants them to be.''

On replay tonight ~Leave a Whisper Album~ Shinedown


Fiona said...

Wow...I even felt better after reading that. It should be compulsory reading for a few people who are in a similar boat with controlling spouses who are in it only for what they get back, personally, and not for the shared output of a real relationship.

You have grown so much, Sunny, since this process started and those beautiful wings are unfurling magnificently!

You're right not to trust everything to his decision, to his wants and needs. He clearly hasn't had your best interests at heart for a very, very long time.

Controllers show their true colours when they start to hear the word 'no'. And boy oh boy they can be surprising in their vitriol. Stay strong.


SoCal Sal said...

Hey Sweetie. Still sending you good vibes. XO

Just a voice from a distance with a small candlelight of perspective. The whole process you are going through is not fun and will surly be very difficult at times. Sure dreams are going to change, for everyone … unavoidable.

Recommend you run everything through ”Your” people. If anything, it will help with perspective as an outside set of eyes and voice of someone who is not emotionally vested. You need to take care of you dear.


Anonymous said...

It's in your husband's best interests to keep you under his thumb and distrusting yourself. If he didn't want a divorce there were things he could have done differently but he chose to not do those things. You are not ruining his future or his dreams, he's doing that to himself. Don't take responsibility for his problems.

You are a smart, resourceful woman, you will succeed.

You weren't a failure as wife, it sounds like you worked hard at trying to please him. The problem is with a person like your husband is that it is not possible to make them happy. They believe that happiness comes from control but it doesn't, so they try to control more and still they're not happy. It's a vicious circle.

I'm just happy for you that you gave yourself permission to leave and live your life. So be strong, don't let him screw you over. You are entitled to half and you my dear are worth half, whether he knows that or not.

Mia said...

Amen girl.. I feel your heart. I might have to read this post several times tonight... with cocktails.


Sunny Delight said...

U did feel better, it took a while though for me to sort it out...I know this is going to be hard, and I have finally come to realize that he underestimates me...I hope I can prove him wrong, and prove to myself that I am capable in all areas of my life!
Thank you so much for all you do to build me back up, when I fall low!

Nice to see you are still around..thanks for the good vibes I am going to need them....

I will definitely be running it all through my people, especially after today. Thanks for the hug, I need many!

Yes, exactly, he wants me very much under his thumb, I received a letter in the mail today, that proves that tenfold!
It may take me a long while to live my life my way...but I am going to give it onehelluva shot! Thank you so much for your support.

I think I am going to have read it several times too! He easily shatters me! Amen to the cocktails, may be exactly what I need!

George said...

Never agree to or sign anything without sharing it with your lawyer. Stand up for what is legally yours, you contributed half (through money, house work, etc)of everything you share possession of.

A friend once said to me ... when you come to have absolutely no feelings for your ex then you are free. The thing that confuses many people is that they will think of feelings as good, loving feelings. But dislike and hate are also feelings that leave you emotionally attached.

Have no attachment, no feelings as if he were a stranger on the street ... then you will be free