Memories come back with a startlingly new perspective.
You won’t fight for me.
Leave like you do.
I would like to sleep alone tonight.
I miss us.
You’re my end game.
Why aren’t you paying attention to me?
I can’t deal with your defensiveness.
You don’t see me.
I always felt beautiful with you.
You’re killing me.
Can we go home and be us?
Did you fuck her?
I love you.
I can’t go back to who I used to be.
You don’t deserve me.
I hope I never lose you.
Always remember us this way.
I wanted to know everything about her life. I loved her.
She would share stories about her past when her guard was down. They wandered into my soul, making me love her more. Deeper. My focus was on her heart, abandonment issues, and happiness. I was always thinking about my wife. Her quirks. What they meant. Things she wanted. Things she needed. If she was hungry. If she was restless or tired or quiet. If she needed space or fun or affection. All the things I watched my dad do out of love for my mother.
But I lost myself over time. Why?
The growing realization that it will take years to heal wounds from her and earlier ones seemingly now bigger and sorer, is an overwhelming mountain before me. I may not have the shoes of confident feet anymore but I’m going to climb it anyway.
Months of self-reflection and therapy have taken me down exploratory paths spidering out from initial hurts. Awareness of codependency and trauma bonding glaringly reared themselves as life played itself out in our marriage. Even then, that knowledge remained suppressed as I cared for her and tried to please her in every way. I understood the severity of her upbringing and unrealistic expectations, and it was extremely hard loving her. Not because she’s unlovable but because she’s unwell.
Did a father violently abusing his daughter render her incapable of a true connection? Was our marriage just a set-up to fail when things become too close and real for us? Am I a narcissist for writing about myself? Has it been one long projection of my own making? Is she a narcissist? Borderline? Both? Did I eat today? Did she really love me? How do you even fake that? Am I bat shit crazy? This is the rabbit hole I go down a thousand times daily. It’s also wonderful financial news for my therapist.
I hang on to a few friends and a therapist. Their assurances keep my head above water on days that bring deep heartaches or miles of angry memory. Their life rafts save me. They remind me of who I am and what I mean to them. They hold my head straight whenever I’m confused and hand over the glue when I find another piece of myself.
They didn’t know anything about my marriage. When a moment might have warranted a nice friend check-in, it was quickly pushed away because her words selfish, childish, immature, victim, entitled, loser, piece of shit, gross, the liar was all I could hear. And even though I needed my friends very badly, I withdrew because I believed my wife. Even when the rebel wolf rose inside me offering protection, that knowing was cast aside.
It’s a strange place to be left standing in the aftermath of our failed marriage. It’s unlike any aftermath I’ve ever known. A different heartache. Separate grief. Miles of memories. Investigations are unwelcomed yet coming. Another bottle of cabernet. Another bag of chips.
Like a tangled ball of yarn, my insides.
Chin up and strong, Jack.