There are nights I want to tear our house down, light our memories on fire, and throw my wedding ring in the ocean. There are days when tears catch me off guard in public. There are a thousand songs I skip on the radio. There are shows and movies I quickly move through. In every moment, whether buried or just under the surface, I cannot escape the hanging injustice that sits in my soul or the heavy grief of a lost ideal or illusion of the love I thought I had found.
It’s been a month since I killed myself. It’s been a month since I’ve seen her face. Heard her laugh. A month since the hospital. A month, since I was puking off the side of the hospital bed with a catheter. My days are spent triumphant or filled with questioning reality or both. I apologize to lifelong friends for venting because it now feels selfish of me and I no longer trust myself. They assure me that it’s what friendship is for and tell me to never stop talking to them. Memories find me throughout the day and now, even in my dreams. Missed clues and red flags push me to retreat into a cocoon of sorrow.
There is so much to uncover and untangle from. It’s overwhelming and sometimes I can’t breathe. I’ve been silenced and bruised by someone who expected everything of me and gave only of herself when it was convenient or when she evaded taking something I did personally. “Was any of this even real?” is a question that haunts me when the world is silent and still. Days are spent looking back and wondering if it was all a lie. As minutes turn into hours, I’m finding a growing truth about my time with her. She either knows what she is doing and will not change or she is oblivious to it all so she can’t change. Either way, that is a sad room to sit in.
She wanted me to understand her trauma, where she came from, her abandonment issues, anxieties, vulnerabilities and fears, her OCD, her complicated nature….. and I did. I bent to them. I smiled through hard moments. I shut my mouth. I stood back to understand the clearer picture until I found empathy and compassion. Always tried my best to love her from a place of kindness. But she couldn’t do that for me. Instead, she vomited all of her shit onto me. And then hated who I became because of it. And then left me feeling broken, bent, confused, hurting, and crazy. It is an injustice I may never find the words to fully unpack for you.
People say that narcissists are evil humans. I see it a lot on social media. I think like most things, if we step back, there is space for understanding and compassion. My wife had an extraordinarily abusive childhood. It doesn’t make any of this okay. But it makes sense that her experience changed her in ways I could never begin to know. Yes, I have a soft spot for her. I have for decades and always will. It doesn’t make me weak. It makes me human. I too came out of hardness and I understand the way our personalities can splinter off to protect us as we survive things we may not have otherwise. I understand that the things we did as children can and often do end up destroying things we want, crave, and need in adulthood.
Even though I am intelligent enough to know that nothing is personal, it’s still very damaging. My wife cannot be in my life. She is unhealthy and not good for me. Everyone thinks that she will be back when her supply has dried up and she is lonely. Maybe. Maybe not. I am not holding my breath. Sometimes I wish for her to return and I have to spend a lot of time in that space wondering what that really is about for me. Why would I want someone to come back home if they have treated me so horribly? There is a lot of healing in the answers. I talk to myself sometimes pretending that she is my audience. What would I say? I’d like to say,“I will always want you but until you get help, fuck off.” But that feels unkind and far from who I aim to be as a human.
No contact has been hard. I have to remind myself that I had 200 pills in me a month ago so I keep perspective. I don’t blame her for taking my own life. That was my choice. However, it showcases the deep, dark well of emotional abuse we can, and often, fall into.
She will tell you these are stories I like telling myself and others because I like being a victim of life and this is how I make excuses for my behavior. But the truth is that I was a victim of her insecurities, low self-worth, unhinged, and most likely, undiagnosed personality disorder. And it’s not my life’s purpose to enable her stagnancy by letting her diminish, belittle and destroy me in her attempt to discharge her negative emotions. I suppose it’s easier to say I like being the victim because she doesn’t have to look at her behavior and change.
The few times I’ve shared my thoughts about what might be happening for her, she has quickly tossed it back into my yard saying things like “what an imagination you have,” or “that is your shit, not mine,” and “always the victim, Jack.” And yet I would sit for hours that would probably amount to days listening to everything she would say about my character, life, and experience. Another injustice that boiled over inside of me as time went on. Seeing things I believed to be true then having her slap a piece of duct tape over my mouth each time using projection, criticism, and contempt. It was never a two-way street.
She will say that I’m a common denominator in relationships not working out and that without me, she is growing, blossoming, and thriving. And then she will say things like her exes all think she is fucking crazy and that I am doing a good job with her. She will also say that she always picks out crazy partners so she can work out her childhood abuse issues. Did she make me feel bat shit crazy so she could work out her issues with her parents? I wonder if she thinks about this when she is alone. If she ever comes across that knowing when she looks in a drunk solo bathroom mirror miles away from me.
On the way to a friend’s wedding, my wife leaned over in the car and said, “I wish I didn’t know so much about you.” And quietly to myself, I thought Yeah, me too. I gave you a handbook entitled, A Million Ways to Hurt Me. And you have.
And so in the aftermath of chaos, I watch her life speed off without me leaving behind a mess that is not mine to clean up. But I have no choice. It is my heart that is broken. It is my body that is depressed. It is my mind that is scrambled. It is my soul that is angry. And though I want to throw myself down on the floor in a tantrum because it’s unfair and bullshit, it won’t change anything.
This bullshit moment is an opportunity to stand up, rise, set boundaries, let go, be fierce, determined, gentle, kind, compassionate, empathetic, driven, strong, brave, independent, self-sufficient, and badass. Yes ma’am and sir, on the other side of this phoenix of opportunities is a magical, brighter, stable, transformative, and happier place. And I will get there.
But I can still be pissed off about it…