Reflections on some not so awesome memories


I have had this song come up several times on Pandora lately. I initially really liked it because it’s got a lovely piano playing in a predominantly minor key and the singer’s voice matches the tone of the song so well. I like the bridge transitions, especially the way she transitions from the bridge to the chorus by using what I’ve always thought of as chunky, melancholy chords. It’s one of those songs that kind of makes me want to cry, but that’s because the song is intended to elicit such emotions. That was all I paid attention to the first half-dozen or so times I heard it.

Then I listened to the lyrics. I was in the shower, my thinking place, and just sort of stopped to actually hear the story Ms. Grey painted with her words. It was sort of like getting punched in the gut. Or maybe the throat.

I’m sure I’ve referenced it a few times here, though nothing overt or glaringly obvious. My ex was something of an ass to the Nth degree. If it weren’t for the fact that he was in the Army and it’s a big no-no to get an Axis II diagnosis a psychiatrist would have diagnosed him with Narcissistic Personality Disorder with Antisocial (personality disorder) Traits. In case you don’t actually want to read the wiki articles about those two disorders, just know that they both are pretty much what they sound like they are. He was charming, suave and subtly manipulative the first 6-12 months that I knew him. Then he not-so-slowly transformed into something of a clearly manipulative, emotionally and mentally abusive, controlling, delusional, lazy-ass, *insert your favorite descriptor for a waste of space here* moocher that I had the pleasure of having to deal with outside of work. Except he was really great at sleight of hand maneuvers so that I and anyone casually interacting with either of us wouldn’t realize something was going on or that it whatever they noticed was my fault, my failing. He even managed to convince me that all our problems, his problems really, were my fault. He couldn’t keep a job because we lived too far away from all the places he could work. He lied to me because I wasn’t strong enough to deal with or know the truth. It was my fault that he turned to one of his exes for support, talked shit about me and was making promises to leave me and go off with her as soon as I was “strong” enough to not kill myself over him. The list goes on and on and on.

How does it relate to the song? Well, note that he started out only subtly off. Then he turned into the sort of person that I never thought I would attach myself to. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I didn’t actually deserve to be happy. I really was the cause of so much misery and heartache. The fights were all my fault. The things that went wrong were my fault. I just wasn’t enough. I failed again and again when I tried to make anything better. I was never good enough. I never knew what I was talking about, even when I did. I deserved all the bad things that happened, all the lies, all the half-truths and misdirection. It was what I knew, what I expected and it was, as so often happens, normal, comfortable in that horrifying sort of way. I wasn’t happy, but I knew the routine, I knew how it would end, change was scary. I accepted everything because, well, what other choice did I have? (I know the answer now, but not then.)

Except that I (finally) got space and time away from him. I lived half-way around the world from him and discovered that I could actually be happy. It took over a year, but I gathered my courage and told him I was no longer going to be his thing to manipulate. I left him. And I suppose that is where my story differs from the one told in this song. She doesn’t leave at the end. At least not yet. I escaped. I found a life that I am happy with. I found people who love and support me and whom I love and support.

Sadly, that doesn’t keep me from going back to those memories. I still have times when I revert to behaviors I learned while in that relationship. I suppose I’m still a work in progress. Aren’t we all? We’ve each got our own demons, some are just more obvious than others. I just wish they couldn’t haunt us after we have exorcised them from our lives. Their shades can be just as painful and scary as the demons themselves were.

Right. Well, something more pleasant to come in the near future. Probably something about Anomalycon or the zombie apocalypse or something.

A Work in Progress

Forgiveness seems like it should be a one time thing. Something happens and you get hurt. The person that was a part of making that thing happen apologizes, you forgive them and life moves on. Or you get hurt several times over, give up that person or that thing, forgive yourself and them for your parts in the cause of the pain and move on.

I used to think that was how this worked. Actually, right up until the last year or so it was how I thought such things worked. It is only after I have thought things over that I have started to realize that forgiveness is not a one time deal. It is a way of thinking and way of acting and a way of being.

There are several people in my past that hurt me, whether they intended to or not, whether I meant them to or not, it happened. Some of these actions are years and years in the past and I thought I was over whatever was going on there. Except that there are random times when I am at home, in the shower, dreaming, reading, driving or whatever other quiet moment I find myself in, when I will think of X person and S action and wonder why it happened and why I still felt the pang of hurt from it. I had already forgiven myself, forgiven them, forgiven the others who were peripherally involved…

What I have discovered is that it’s not enough to “forgive and forget.” If I completely forget then I will not learn from those mistakes of mine and the act of forgiving no longer means anything. If I never forgive then I will very likely continue to attract that sort of action/behavior/people into my life and will slowly be eaten away by the anger and pain associated with unhealed pain. That isn’t such a great option either.

What I have been doing for some time now, years actually, is to forgive myself and others every time I reflect on a particular event or that person in my life. There is still an echo of that pain, still knowledge of that lesson, but it is nowhere near half so painful or troublesome as what it would have been if I had not learned how to think, process, and forgive multiple times over.

The thing I find the most amusing about all of it is not that I have been doing it for years, but that it has taken me so long to be conscious of what has actually been a very good coping mechanism for me. One would think that this would have been an obvious thing. I think the only reason why it even came to my attention at all is that now that there has been a greater distance of time and emotion from my ex I am reflecting more upon the things that I learned from him, but it is taking more effort, more time to complete the ritual. Think, process, forgive, move on. This has not been working so well, at least not easily, as what I am used to, and so now I am having to take on the part of a full and active participant in my own mini-therapy session.

Now the important thing for me to figure out is if I’m the only one that works this way. If not, hey, there’s a new thing that can be suggested for people relatively far along in their recovery, or at least past the grief stage in their own processing. If so… hey, at least I know what works for me.

A Very Nice Memory

I normally don’t post twice in the same day. But, this is a new blog and I’m still bored and recovering from getting my tonsils removed so hopefully you can forgive me. I’m going to share with you a bit of the conversation I had a few days ago that made realize that I really do need to start writing again, if for no other reason than to help siphon some of the crazy intense emotions I have taken hostage in my heart and head.

“Do you believe in true love or Soul-mates?”

“Well, I found you, didn’t I?”

Now, I’ve had this conversation with my fiance in the past and so his answer is not precisely new to me. It’s just that when he answers that way to that particular question it sends the most delicious sparks traveling all along my nervous system and fire through my veins. Yes, I know that’s a metaphor, yadda yadda yadda, however, when I feel the sudden increase in energy and heat in my body, I cannot help but use those metaphors as descriptors and hope that a reader will realize they’re more than just a few words typed across a page.

You see, my fiance is a fairly practical man who has had his heart broken several different ways in the last four years. He was previously engaged and it was ended because she had an epiphany that he would hold her back from realizing her potential of becoming a neurosurgeon. (Um, the man in question was working on masters degree and had just recently graduated only 1 semester late from CSM with a double-bachelors in two separate engineering fields and the only reason he was late at all was because he had been required by the Army to change around classes for a cancelled deployment. He did all that while working full time jobs and paying his own rent and tuition and everything. How in the world would he have held anyone back from getting an education?) His father had passed away from throat cancer, his older brother was using his family to support his drug and alcohol habit as well as involuntary resources for income while he was in various half-way homes, and he had heard over and over that he was a really great guy, but that he just wasn’t the kind of guy that girls could date. He was an awesome friend, but somehow didn’t quite match what they wanted for a boyfriend. In the course of less than five years, he lost his Faith, his faith in humanity, and I believe he was starting to lose faith in himself as well.

Then I come waltzing into his life and don’t even realize that I have totally shaken the foundation of his world. I don’t consider myself all that interesting or amusing or amazing or anything more than somewhere between “weird” and “just on this side of daft.” However, he seems to think I’m pretty cool for some reason or other, and I’m not going to complain because it means I get to to stick around, and he actually wants me to do so. Actually, he asked me to do so on a permanent basis, but that’s just taking the same idea and expanding it. The thing about it is, we both “knew” within the first week of actually meeting that this thing between us, whatever it was, was so very different from anything either of us had previously experienced. Despite both of us searching for days and days to find another explanation, the only one that made sense to either of us was that, maybe we needed to start looking at that very scary Soul-mate explanation.

He wasn’t as hesitant to look at it as I was. For me, it was scary because I had already resigned myself to being more or less permanently single my entire life while searching for my one and only because I wasn’t going to settle. I had done so once before and it hurt like hell to get out of that marriage and was even worse to try to recover from. If this man whom I had just met was really my Soul-mate… how in the world was I going to rewrite my entire foreseeable future? Again. Because despite being weirdly in sync with him about so many things, I still didn’t actually know the man. Despite knowing that I loved him and trusted him and genuinely knew I was safe with him, I had no clue why I felt safe around him. I knew him, I loved him, I trusted him, I was ready to live my entire life with him, but I had no clue why I was okay with all of that after less than a week!

Luckily, I was done with questioning and fighting fate and tired of feeling stressed and like I was out of control of my own life, so rather than pulling away, I said fine, let’s see where this goes. And so did he. And together we have fallen into a routine that is so perfectly us, and yet took so little effort and was already known. There are so many little things that are telling me I was looking for him all my life without really knowing it.
– Despite really liking the Mediterranean Jewish look on guys, the three men I have been with have had darkish blond hair and blue/green eyes
– My first boyfriend has the same birthday as my fiance
– My first boyfriend was in the same class at CSM as my fiance (I like ’em geeky and smart, what can I say?)
– My first husband (stupid, stupid, stupid) I met in the Army while apparently my fiance had his reserve drill in the same building that I did, just upstairs
– And several other things that aren’t coming to mind now but that I may add later.

I know it seems silly, but some part of me feels like I knew what I was looking for… but that I was just half a step off from the universe and couldn’t manage to get phased back in. He on the other hand, said that he could just never find what he was looking for and so he kept turning back to what was comfortable, which eventually turned into his worst heartbreak.

Well, we found each other, and I’ve managed to restore some of his faith in some part of the universe. Because now if is asked about true love or Soul-mates, he has only to look to his side to see proof for both, in his mind at least. And he’s restored my belief in Fate, so I suppose we’re even in that sense.

And now that I’ve officially meandered far more than I had ever intended to, I will bid you farewell.