Sorry, guys, for the following rant-y post. For today, there’s literally no other “adults” I can talk to about this without negative consequences. I’ve been so impressed with the compassion and practicality of the posters here. Reading similar stores and hearing similar responses to what I thought has been such a gift and a relief.
Reality is getting pretty fragmented for me the past few days. I think I’m just exhausted and am trying to make sense of things that are impossible to make logical. I've worked so hard to build an organized, aware, and balanced life, despite a huge section of it being concentrated chaos.
To give context, I have to be a bit wordy. My first marriage was a “shot gun wedding.” I was sixteen. He was a psychopath who deliberately was trying to get me pregnant when he raped me. From the day I told my parents I was pregnant to the day I was married to him, it was a week. I was married to him for eleven years. He was violent, selfish, deceitful, an SA, and utterly NPD in how he related to most people. He kept me pregnant: one, to keep me “content” as I adore children, two, because I had hyperemesis and was physically weaker during pregnancy – which he preferred. I tried to get help several times and was thrown back at him. As long as I facilitated his image and his preferences, he was manageable: he tried to keep appearances up and was more aware when he wasn’t acting human.
Finally, he went too far and hurt me more than could be hidden. People finally believed me – well, sort of. People had bought into the image he manufactured – and that frankly I had polished to keep him calm. People thought we were the “perfect family.” These same people were unhappy about having to let go of that “ideal.” They accused me of acting out my childhood abuse and blaming my ex – truly vicious things. But I had enough fuel, despite the pushback, and I fought and got the divorce. Despite my ex abandoning us financially (currently $90k in arrears), and being a SAHM from the ages 16-28, I found a job, kept our heads above water, made headway on the debt he left us, and the kids are absolutely the best people I know - it is an honor and a joy to be their mother.
I was a single mom for five years and we did great. Then I met my current husband. We all fell in love with him. After three years of courtship, when he proposed, the kids jumped on him in elation and said "yes" before I could even answer.
My ex had never had any interest in the kids. He was jealous of them and resentful they took money and time away from the “real things” he could be doing. But now, here, was this man. He loved my babies and respected and supported the relationship we have. He pursued me intently. He seemed exactly to be what we'd always wanted, but never had. My babies had a daddy. I had a husband - for real this time, and one I could choose.
And then the affairs started three years into the marriage. We've had two DDs. All emotional affairs. All strangely emotionally intimate – talking all day and night with multiple women, but flirty without being sexual. After the voracious sexual addictions of my ex, that’s both a blessing and puzzling. What was my current husband looking for? What was he getting out of it? He had a houseful of people eager to interact with him.
It was agony when I found out. Last March, the morning I picked up his phone to check the time before I woke him up and seeing the open text message, to this March and seeing a strange number on our phone bill, it’s been the worst year of my life. Which is saying something.
So here we are. We’re in MC. Reading books. The kids know this time. My youngest daughter, who was/is especially bonded to my husband has taken it very hard. She’s smack in the middle of full blown anorexia now. So many of our days center around the fight to get her to eat. To give him credit, my husband’s been amazing with her. We figured out the anorexia two weeks after we separated. There have been such blatant parallels in the choices they make, the unhealthy decision making processes they both have taken, that it was a massive wake up call for him. Some of the most painful places I’ve seen him in have happened as he realized that she needed him and he had limited his ability to help her, because of his own choices. Like my second oldest girl has taken to saying, “Crazy all looks the same.” Addiction looks like addiction looks like addiction, etc.
I’m so… tired. So numb this week. My husband moved back in about three weeks ago and has been doing such a good job working on himself that it’s almost infuriating, how easily he’s taken to it versus the man he was last year. We went on a date (very rare for us) last Saturday and it was easily the most fun we’ve had on a date. Father’s Day was great, too, outside of our annual threat letter from my ex.
My baby girl is sick. She’s fighting me. The words she uses, the justifications, are identical to the ones my husband used all last year. It’s a massive trigger and there’s nothing I can do about it but to surf the pain and help her and love her. If my husband hadn’t been so amazing and emotionally available and invested in helping her, I think I would have killed him for the pain she’s in.
I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to see people choose terrible things and clean up after them. I accidentally pulled out a clump of my hair raking my hands through it repetitively, my heart keeps racing, I have constant headaches, and terrible dreams. I don’t blame my daughter. I feel like I’ve failed her. It was such a fight to find a safe place for us. And now we’re back here. And yes, I’m exhausted. Three months from a second DD, fighting for my daughter’s health, and I’m getting lost in the stress of it all.
I’ll get a second wind. I’ll be more hopeful. I’ll be optimistic. It will come back around. But today, I just want to sleep in a dark room for two or three hundred years. I don’t want to go home from an eleven hour work day and see those hollow blue eyes and sunken cheeks and fight her to take just one more bite.