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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Jobs, Making a Living and Deep Thinking

I suppose that everyone has a picture of what their life will look like in 5, 10 or 20 years. I wonder how many people make a hard plan, committing it to paper, with goals and mile stones neatly outlined and bullet-ed? I am not one of those people and it has been a constant source of conflict with M and I.

As a teen, my only goal was to escape my parent’s house and live life on my own terms. I knew that I needed a job that would pay good money and that that job would not be found in the small town I grew up in. To that end, I needed to get some post-high school education, but there was no money for college, nor, in my mind, was there time for 4 years of study. I wanted out and I wanted out NOW. I attended a one-year trade school program in another state (the farther away, the better, I thought) to give me the basic skills to survive in a large city at a job that paid more than minimum wage.

My vision of my future looked perfect: I would be an office worker (maybe an executive one day!) wearing a skirt suit to a lovely office suite where I would design fabulous things and be admired by my peers. I would have an apartment where I lived alone and could do as I pleased. I would have a cat, a Siamese cat with huge blue eyes, and would eat only foods that I loved and spend my free time amusing no one but myself. There would be no man to cater to, no children to take care of, no responsibilities but what I chose to take on. I would read books and go to movies with a large group of friends who were focused on their careers and had no other ties. We would amuse ourselves, have fun and make a ton of money.

My reality never shaped up the way I wanted it to. I did eventually get a job that sort of resembled my dream job, but only after marrying a nightmare and bearing him the son he said he wanted above all things. Then divorce. Another marriage to another nightmare. Yet another divorce. And now here I am, living in a medium-sized tourist town, my old, faithful Siamese dead these two years, working two minimum wage jobs, treading water to keep afloat, miserable and incredulous that my life plan has gone so far astray.

M claims to have his life mapped out for the next 20 years, with goals set every year, five years and ten years. He claims to think about this plan every day. He claims that he spends all his time thinking about this plan and other “important” things while he goes about his day, answering philosophical questions for himself, evaluating everything he sees or reads as he goes about his day. He claims that every “educated and enlightened” person does this all the time and that I am a caveman for not engaging my mind as he does.

I’ve tried to explain to him that sometimes a person is just too damned busy getting through the day to think Deep Thoughts or constantly edit their Life Plan. Sometimes just making it to bedtime is the best you can hope for and it’s been my experience that there just isn’t time for all the detailed planning and thinking that he feels is essential to life. And besides, I really don’t care. Constantly re-hashing my past and trying to figure out how it applies to my present and how it will impact my future looks like a hamster running on a wheel to nowhere to me, an exercise in futility that I have no desire to start.

Really, how would that internal conversation go?

“Let’s see. My father molested me. Ergo, I don’t trust or like men and all of my relationships have totally sucked. How does that affect me today? Well, I am suspicious of men who claim to have my best interests at heart. What should I do about that? Ensure that I have the financial means to escape because going to jail for murder really isn’t in my Life Plan for this decade…” and so on. It would be like ripping a bandage off a fresh wound every day for the rest of my life. Some things don’t bear close examination, IMHO – I know those of you who have had therapy will disagree…

Or how about this exercise? One day M was trying to make his point about all this Deep Thinking. He asked me, “what would you do if you had to leave this house? Say, you were told this morning that you had to be gone within 24 hours and could not come back. What would you do?”

At my surprised look, he said, “it wasn’t me who said you had to go, but something has happened and you have no choice. 24 hours. What would you do?”

“Simple,” I said. “I would load what I could into my car and drive away.” I mean, really, what else could I do? “I suppose if I had time I could rent a truck and put my stuff into storage or something, but what possible situation would have me abandoning this house in 24 hours?”

“What about me?” he asked.

“You? You said that I had to leave, like you weren’t here or something. There was no ‘you’ in your scenario.”

“Wrong! You didn’t even think about me. You were just going to leave and let me get by however I could? Are we a couple or not? Do you ever even think of anyone besides yourself? I don’t think you do! What about all of your stuff? Would you leave it for me to deal with?” and off he went into a lecture about how selfish I am and what he would do if he had to leave in 24 hours. I couldn’t get a word in and tuned out for the duration. The upshot is that he has made “valuable connections” in the community and has friends he can rely upon to help him in a time of need because he has been thinking Deep Thoughts about possible life scenarios and coming up with solutions. He called me irresponsible for leaving possessions behind for someone else to deal with. He called me selfish for thinking only of myself. He called me short-sighted for not having somewhere to go, some person to rely upon in my time of need.

Here’s my take on his little exercise: I have never encountered a situation where I had to vacate my living quarters within 24 hours. I suppose it could happen in some sort of emergency, but it’s highly unlikely. I have  had to leave my possessions behind on one occasion. You know what? Everything was sold by the person I entrusted to keep my things safe for a few weeks. Things are only things and if I have to make a hasty exit I really don’t give a damn what happens to my possessions, nor do I feel a bit of guilt that someone else has to deal with them. I’m being evicted without ceremony, right? Why should I care?

And at that point I can’t even continue because the scenario is just too ridiculous and I have vacuuming to do.

What are your thoughts? Do you have a Life Plan? If so, what does it look like? Have you acted out possible scenarios in your mind and worked out solutions to life’s little emergencies? Or are you, like me, just trying to get through the day without murdering anyone?

 

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Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Deceptions, Emotional Abuse, Gaslighting

 

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Gifts and their Consequences

One of the things that attracted me to M was his generosity – when he is in funds he likes to spend money on his friends and loved ones. Fine wine, good food, art, things that he thinks the person will enjoy. In the beginning I was impressed with this side of him, but I have since learned that his gifts come with strings.

For instance, early in our relationship he bought me a leather jacket. It’s a very nice jacket, but a bit too fitted for my taste – I’m always cold, so I want my jackets to be roomy enough to wear a layer or two underneath so I don’t shiver all day. Therefore, this jacket has a very short and specific season when it can be worn with any comfort. You can see where this is headed, right? M thought that I should wear the jacket much more often than I did, and I should wear it for very specific things, and with certain pants, etc. etc. etc. The way I was actually using something that he bought for me, as a gift, was cause for criticism and judgement. He has said many times that he should give the jacket away to someone who will appreciate it and wear it as it should be worn. At this very moment it’s in the back of a closet because I can’t stand the sight of it. Anything that he gives to me must be used as he intended it to be (even if he doesn’t say what he expects) and should be treated as a sacred object (Like the riding boots I wore every day because I loved them so much – he about had a stroke when he found out I was wearing them to the barn and to ride my horse. Hello! They were riding boots!)

Anyway. I am studying the violin. A friend had a very nice violin that needed a bit of work. I asked to do the work because I’m interested in learning how violins are made and it was an easy project. After it was finished and playable again I called our friend and he told me to keep it and play it for a while. I had a ton of fun using an instrument that I know I would not be able to afford to own and was fully prepared for it to go back to its real home. M said that our friend wanted $400* for it, which is a good price, but I’m working two part-time jobs and don’t have that kind of spare change lying around, nor would I be able to justify myself to M if I bought it because he is faaahhhreeekeeeed out about money right now.

Cutting to the chase, I made a comment about the strings needing to be replaced on this nice violin, but that I didn’t have the cash to buy the expensive strings that our friend prefers, so it will have to go back into the case to await pick up.

Very late last night M came in to the bedroom with a delighted look on his face. “I bought you a new fiddle,” he says.

“What?” I’m exhausted and half asleep and really not in the mood for whatever kind of shit this is going to turn into.

“I bought you a new fiddle just now.” He really is gleeful.

“Where did you buy me a new fiddle? What kind?” It hadn’t occurred to me that it was the violin that I’ve been playing for three months.

“B’s fiddle – he just agreed to sell it to me!” He’s so fucking happy, and I am so tired.

“Wow! That’s great! Thank you!” Now please let me sleep…Please?

I tried to be as effusive with my thanks as he thinks he deserves (it really is a nice violin, and I really do appreciate being able to keep it) and keep a happy face, but it was late and I was very tired. I changed the strings today and played for a while even though I’m tired (do I say that too much? This month has been a bitch and I need a nap!)

This will end badly, if every other gift he’s given me is any indication, it remains to be seen what direction it will take, but I am prepared.

* I knew B would want (and deserve) more money than I could pay, so I never asked what he might want for the violin. I was just happy to be able to play an instrument that is far above my abilities. Being the bitch that I am, I hacked M’s email to see what he paid for it (empty your trash folder!) $200.00. Cheaper than it should have been, especially as it comes with a very nice case and bow – essentially what B has in to it and nothing more. I might have been able to pay that, but it’s too late now…

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2012 in Gifts, Today

 

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The Heart of the Matter?

Here we are at the middle of the month, and still no blow-up. Instead I got a little glimpse inside M’s head while he had his guard down. We were eating dinner and chatting about I don’t even know what when he said, “You know, I really hate to be wrong.”

“No one can be right all the time. That’s just not possible. You’re not god,” I replied.

“I know, but I still want to be right.”

“What if you’re not?”

“I hate that – it means that someone else is right and I hate that.”

Instead of hammering on him to explain, I let it go, but it’s been simmering in the back of my mind ever since. It explains a lot. It justifies nothing, but it does explain why he insists on deconstructing, minimizing and outright denying any intelligent thought I might have if it goes against what he believes is right. What a putz.

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Today, Truth?

 

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Sleep Deprivation

Most people don’t realize that sleep deprivation is a very effective method of torture. Srsly. Ask any POW and they will likely talk about their experience with sleep deprivation and what it did to their mind and body.

My first husband used sleep deprivation in order to control me. To this day I do not know if he did it deliberately, but I strongly suspect that he did. He was a tweaker (a person who uses meth) and so would spend days at a time awake and hyper, his thoughts and actions erratic and unpredictable. Since he refused to get or hold a job, it was up to me to make enough money for us to pay rent and eat and enjoy all the modern conveniences that we had become accustomed to, like running water and electricity. To that end, I sometimes worked two jobs to keep body and soul together. In return, he stole money and checks from me and made sure that I was always too tired to fight him.

Every night, I would be swaying on my feet before he would allow me to go to bed. I do mean “allow” – he would physically keep me from laying down while talking a mile a minute and demanding I respond to him. After I fell asleep, usually within minutes, he would find reasons to wake me up, asking me questions, making demands, whatever. He did this every hour or (if I was lucky) two all night long. When morning came, I was more exhausted than when I laid down, stomach in knots, hands shaking, light-headed, a total wreck. I would be a zombie all day at work and then come home to start all over again.

This went on for nearly four years. It came on so slowly that I didn’t realize what was happening. People started to look at me with concern, asking why I was so thin, why the dark circles under my eyes, etc. I had no answer. How could I? I could not form a coherent sentence by the end, constantly worn to a frazzle, unable to object to anything that he wanted if only he would let me take a little nap. I was having hallucinations and became uncertain of what was real and what was not. I became emotionally dead – I just had no energy for anything resembling a rational response to my environment. I see pictures of myself from those days and I don’t recognise the people in them. No memory of them at all. I asked my Sis who some guy was in a picture and she gave me a look of such surprise – he and she had been together for a few years, he had run up her credit card and then left her hanging, etc. etc. I have absolutely no memory of the guy, but there I am in a picture with him.

When I finally got out of that situation, I began to nap. Every.Day.That.I.Could. I mean, seriously nap. And sleep long hours at night. It got to the point where I guarded my sleep against any and all comers, frankly telling anyone who wanted to keep me up late that I was not interested. If I did stay up late and felt tired the next day it brought back memories of that terrible time so strongly that I began to sleep longer to avoid that awful feeling of those days. I may have gone a bit overboard, but my sleep was, and is, very important to me. M does not understand (even though I have spelled it out to him, explicitly – he feels that I “should be over that by now”) that I need more sleep than the average person and that I am unwilling to give up those hours to do something that is important to him, or not important all.

I now refuse to lose weight for M or anyone else. I am not fat, I’m not even close to what passes for “average” in America. I am 5′-8″ tall and weigh about 130. M would prefer that I weigh 120 or less, because then I “would be so hot.” Being too thin does not make me feel “good,” it brings back those awful times again in full force.

All this to say that I’m being awakened several times a night by our geriatric dog who has decided that she needs to go outside during the night. I don’t really begrudge her age-related infirmities, but damn! I’m getting those old feelings of oppression back. Loss of appetite. The constant desire for a nap. And before you ask, no, M can’t take her out – his disability prevents him from getting out of bed fast enough – when the dog has to go, she has to go now!

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2012 in Today, Torture

 

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A Pleasant Surprise

Ever since the Phone Call Incident, M has been very good to me. No harsh words, no lectures. He appears to be thinking about what he says to me and biting back any insults.

Is he trying not to give me any ammunition?

Is he feeling guilty about his treatment of me?

Has he finally gotten a clue about his bad behavior?

Is he concerned that I might finally just leave?

Will this last, or is it just a quiet interlude?

Time will tell if he has truly changed, but for now I’m quite enjoying myself. I feel like he actually heard what I was saying, not what he decided my words meant, and I must say that it is refreshing. If people were just nicer to those they purport to love, there would be far fewer divorces and unhappy break-ups.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2012 in Today

 

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