(Another meandering entry. Sorry if this kind of blogging isn’t very linear. It all connects, but you might have to be me in order to understand how.)
My kids think my wife hung the moon. So does the dog.
Yet she’s told me before that none of it means anything to her outside of the context of our marriage. If we’re not together, then ‘I’ve ruined everything’ and she doesn’t care what happens to the kids and ‘it will all be (my) fault.’ She can’t be held responsible for her behavior if I leave her, basically.
I know that when I leave, I’ll be plunging a proverbial knife into her stomach. It won’t ever get better. It’ll have to be out-waited. And she’s going to seriously fuck the kids over and blame it all on me. I’ve been told that, verbatim. And she believes that I will be responsible for whatever she does. I can tell.
I am a caregiver. My son is severely mentally handicapped, requiring total and constant supervision and care. I’m not that great at it, but I’ve always thought of it as my primary job, my primary responsibility. I always thought my son’s best chance going forward into adulthood and beyond was his mother’s income. I don’t have a degree and I just can’t provide him with the same things that, as a physician, she can give him.
I’m thinking back this morning on old twisted words. The time I tried to leave her before. How she turned that into “tried to leave us.” How I said, no, that’s not what I ever intended. I wanted the kids with me. I am thinking back on how it didn’t matter, how she never listened. It was the script she created, reality be damned, every time.
Same for the circumstances surrounding my attempted departure. I was drowning in my marriage, desperate, thinking this can’t go on, something’s got to give. I was suffering so much at that point that I literally thought God would step in. I didn’t think God would let someone suffer that much without intervening. Yet He wouldn’t let me just leave her. That wasn’t the Christian way (no offense intended; that was just the way I thought at the time, so I try to accurately depict that). I was melting away. Her mother’s last few visits had been particularly abusive and grueling. I felt I had nothing left to offer, so I just waited, for a solution, or perhaps a sign. Mostly for one or the other of us to die. (Yep, twenty-eight and waiting to die.)
I felt perhaps her plane would crash on a conference trip. I was convinced of it. I was upset. I cried several times the day she left because I knew her plane would crash. It seemed so likely, since I knew it had to end.
Her plane didn’t crash on the way there. Then she called me. “Are you sitting down? I’m pregnant.” But how? I could think of maybe once we’d been intimate within the last several months. And we always used protection. It seemed no matter, though, as what was done was done. I was happy, I said. I tried to be excited. I was excited, in fact, as I never thought I’d have another child. We always felt the risk was too great to try to bring a second child into the world after what happened with our first. I’d wanted a little girl for the last several years and I had a feeling that’s what the baby would be. And she was.
I tried very hard to suppress my unhappiness and plug straight ahead, blinders on. This child had to be a sign that I was supposed to stay. And a girl! I was so happy for that. There was another thought, though, a crazy thought, that held on in my periphery: perhaps now, before the baby arrives, is the time to leave. Better late than never. I knew that the child’s best chance was for me to get her out of the house and away from her mother (and her sociopath family), but I was just too afraid to do anything about it. Besides, I already knew that, in my wife’s opinion, the worst crime a man can commit is to leave a woman while she’s pregnant. (I have never fully explored the fact that we became pregnant twice while we were actively trying not to; the idea that it could have been on purpose has always been unthinkable to me, though the timing is interesting on both counts.) I knew that I should get out, that that was the most responsible thing to do, but how? I just couldn’t see it.
In the midst of all of this, I became friends with a couple. As an adult, I never had any friends. Not any at all. As a stay-at-home caregiver and a social recluse, I lived a very lonely life. We had so much in common, though; they were both great and I thought they were both happily married. She offered to edit a book I was working on, which her husband readily agreed to. We started working closely together and I quickly developed a crush. That was nothing out of the ordinary for me: I was in a miserable marriage and I frequently had ‘harmless’ crushes on other women. Basically, I fantasized about what it would be like to be with someone who returned affection. There were many objects for my fantasies. I mostly just wondered what it would be like to be in a loving relationship. it was a wistful kind of thing.
Until, to my utter surprise, I found out that the woman returned my affection. (There was a SNAFU involved in my finding out; it wasn’t intentional, or at least not to my knowledge.) That was a devastating day for me. Just complete and utter horror. I felt incredibly guilty for allowing something to develop between us. I had wanted it, desperately so, but I had never meant for it to actually happen. I didn’t mean to hurt her, to hurt my friend, or their family. In retrospect, I overreacted and blew it out of proportion, due to my inexperience. Having feelings for someone was a very big deal to me. To her, too, it turned out. Instead of seeing it for what it was and coming to our senses, the world rocked beneath us. We tried very hard to get over it and reestablish boundaries, wanting to preserve the friendship that was important to all three of us. Then she admitted she was actually miserable in her marriage and had been trying to leave for quite some time, but that her husband kept convincing her to stay. I admitted that I was miserable, too, and that I’d been trying to figure out a way to leave, especially before the baby was born. I figured it would be easier for her if we were apart from the beginning, rather than being traumatized by a divorce. Maybe this is meant to be, we started to think. It seemed the wrong way to go about it, but hey, God works in mysterious ways. (We talked about how in the bible David stole Uriah’s wife, sending Uriah to the frontline of the war to die. At least we weren’t planning on killing anybody.)
It all fell apart, of course. It was messy. Afterward, my wife swooped in to redefine everything that had happened. All of my intentions and motivations were rewritten. With much hysteria and repetition, this new history (along with the accompanying guilt) was etched into me. There was never any crack in her facade. Deciding to stay, I eventually moved on from ‘what really happened,’ deciding it wasn’t important anymore.
Still, new information crept in: the kids meant nothing to her outside of our relationship. That didn’t mean so much to me then (although I found it odd and unacceptable), but now that I read about NPD, it makes a lot more sense.
I’d like to think that she would continue to support our handicapped child, but I think this is a self-deceit. Things aren’t going to happen the way I always planned for them to happen. Now that my eyes are open, though, I see that this isn’t necessarily the end of the world. There are other supports available, resources that I might be able to avail myself of, if I can get custody.
Of course, there’s a very good chance that she will be as nasty and malicious as she’s always promised. (And she wonders why I can’t get over the past?)
Okay, I’ve got to stop. I don’t know what will happen. I haven’t even begun to explore my options. I can’t put the cart of doom before the horse.