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Thanksgiving Blessings

Wow. This day is harder than I thought it would be. Just knowing it’s the last Thanksgiving we will all be together as the family we have all known for 18 plus years, it’s a little hard. My heart hurts. 

But I’ll remember all I have to be grateful for. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all who read this. ❤️

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A Generous Offer?

I think not. I’m not selfish. Entitled. Spoiled or greedy. I’m not. I like living light. I like being thrify. But I don’t like being cheated.

I learned through looking carefully into our finances, just how little I knew all these years. I trusted him. I let myself become lazy. I did so much that letting him handle our finances seemed like a great trade-off. I trusted him. I was wrong.

I discovered he makes approximately $31,000 more annually than I was led to believe. His 401k is handsome. His contributions to it are much. I’ve been living off so little all these years, not understanding the real reason why.

During dissolution discussions, we talked about finances and alimony and child support. Last night, he made me what he called, “a generous offer.” He would like to give me $600 a month. For everything. He makes nearly six times that, twice a month, I learned.  He does not agree I am entitled to half his 401k but will give it to me. Half the house?  He said no way. But he plans to keep it and sell down the road, keeping all the money from the sale. It’s his house. He bought it.  He said things I can not believe. I’m no longer productive to him. It’s his money. I’m going to live with my mother and won’t have to pay rent or utilities. I don’t need much money. I can get my own job. His list of reasons went on and on. He believed each and every one and tried to get me to believe them as well. I did not. I was firm. I explained my stance as briefly as possible because I knew I was debating with a narcissist who is not capable of a normal thought process. I was correct. And because he felt I was going after his money and he felt uncomfortable, he did what I suspected he would eventually: the threatend to take my kids from me and tell the courts I’m crazy and an unfit mother. I told him to go ahead. He tried coming to me later to be nice. I was friendly but not warm. No more hugging me. No more. This is the same man, who I learned makes what he does per month, and he takes money from his elderly parents. And I’m the crazy one?

So now. I continue moving forward. Hiring my own attorney and filing for divorce rather than dissolution is the route I must take. I must stay smart and always a few steps ahead of him. He has zero respect or love for me. He made that very clear last night. If I ever had any lingering doubts as to if this marriage ending is the right thing to do? They are so long gone now.

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Keep Showing Me How Little You Value Me, Asshat. 

So, I just had my biweekly dissolution meeting with him. He actually stated he doesn’t want to sell the home. I asked how he planned to keep it, because there’s no way he can afford the mortgage payment plus pay me spousal and child support. He actually had the balls to look me in the eye and say that because I’m moving in with my mother and will live rent and utility free, and I’m seeking employment, he should not have to pay me spousal support. Or at least not very much at all. I asked him when he got divorced the first time, and moved in with his parents, would he have liked it if his job told him they were going to pay him less because he did not need as much money to live off of? He said it’s different because he is actually working for the company and is productive. He is producing results for them. He is valuable to them. WTF.  We ended the meeting right then. What a fucking piece of shit. An asshat. A narcissistic loser. A heartless bastard. He truly believes my worth is far far far less than his. He truly believes that he owes me nothing, after 18 years. I’ve got some serious thinking to do here. If I go after my own attorney too early, he will not permit me to take the kids three counties away. I’m obviously in no state of mind to solve any issues right now. 

Today has been a very bad day. I also learned my cancer is back and surgery is scheduled for Monday the 16th of November. Thank God I’m still covered under his insurance. But I want to owe him NOTHING. I HATE WHERE I AM IN MY LIFE RIGHT NOW.  And I have not been able to complete my online assessment for the job I’m trying to get due to so many technical issues that the help desk where the assessment was created can’t even help me. 

I quit today. 

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Silence Is Golden

Today I began an intensive job search, and research into possibly taking some classes to refresh old skills and acquire new ones. This was all done in the town where I plan to relocate, about three counties away from where we currently reside. 

In therapy a few weeks ago, my husband stated that he was fine with me moving that far away. He told the therapist he understood why I wanted to move there and that he would never try to stop me from relocating there with the kids. It made sense, he said. That’s where my mother is. That’s where I have a lot of friends and a lot of support. The therapist had explained, by law, in the state of Ohio, custody issues state the relocating parent can not take the children more than one county away. I was visibly upset to learn this, but he reassured the therapist he would never prevent me from moving to this three county-away place. He said he’d sign anything right there to prove his noble intent. The therapist let him know nothing like that done in her office would hold up in court. He reassured her that he meant it. It was his word. And then the other day, privately, he told me if I go after a divorce, get a separate attorney and fight him in any way, he would not permit me to take the kids three counties away. 

This. This is the gaslighting I deal with on a regular basis. This is the stress I endure. These are the battles I privately fight. This is why I must think EVERY DECISION through more thoroughly than the average person and have multiple backup plans. This is the crazy-making that tests me daily. 

But I am stronger. I will play along, for now.  I am stronger, forever. Even when I don’t feel stronger, I am stronger. 

Driving home tonight after an exhausting day of filling out online job applications and reading countless job descriptions I would love to apply for but am not qualified for, I was discouraged. Disappointed. Feeling defeated. But I used the 90 minute drive to  center myself. To shake it off. And instead of walking in the door looking sad and defeated, I smiled. I said hello. He asked how the day went. I said “fine,” in as chipper of a voice as I could muster. I gave him less than the bare minimum details of my day. I could see it bothered him. He NEEDED to know if I got a job. If I had any leads. I said nothing to let him know what happened. Nothing. Then I excused myself to go change clothes and I dove right back into my work of cleaning and organizing and packing. I was listening to music and working at a good pace when he came downstairs and asked if I needed any help. I said “no thank you,” again, in a chipper voice. I held up a few articles of clothing that used to belong to our kids, when they were toddlers. I tossed a pair of Polo shorts to him and exclaimed with amazement that our son used to be that small!  I was smiling. He looked at them and grunted something I could not make out but I did not ask him to repeat. I really did not care what he had to say.  I just asked him to toss them in the donate pile. He went upstairs. 

I am writing this now, and in an hour from now, he and I will sit down and work for no more than an hour on our dissolution paperwork. And I will sit there and smile and be pleasant. And I will watch him like a hawk as he tries to manipulate me into stealing what is half mine after building a life with him for over 18 years. I will not allow this. I will smile and let him think he is winning but I will be preparing to get my own attorney at the first sign of him screwing me over, yet again. And I will figure out what to do about revising my plan to move three counties away if he refuses to allow it. 

I will do all this and smile because I am strong. Him? He is an asshole. He will wind up living a lonely shallow life. I won’t smile about that but I will smile because I am strong. 

And my golden silence will show him I am strong. (I might smile because I’m enjoying watching him squirm with uncertainty for a change). 

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Stronger

Today I’m feeling good. Strong. More self confident than I’ve been in more years than I can count. 

Remember in my previous post, I spoke of how short and nasty he was with me, just a few days ago? He was disgusted with my behavior. He was hurt by me. This entire marriage ending has been turned around by him, and placed on my shoulders. According to him, I bare the burden of blame. I’m an ugly person who behaves badly? Well. Knowing he is a narcissist, I know better than to try to discuss, reason, or even argue with him. I’ve left it all alone. He can think what he wants. I know the truth. My kids are learning the truth. 

So after the bizarre weekend and his cold manipulative attempts to bully me, which I ignored completely, he actually wanted to hug and kiss me goodbye this morning as he left for work. Amazingly confusing and frustrating, right? Not today. Not for me. You see? Today I am stronger. 

Yesterday, all four kids came with me and we went shopping. They helped me pick out a few new outfits for my upcoming job interviews. We had a wonderful afternoon. We laughed. We spent excellent time together. We did not discuss a single thing about the marriage ending or what will be happening. We just were……us. My husband stayed home and raked leaves. Alone. And when we returned from shopping, he was waiting. Like a lion trying to pounce on prey. But this prey was swift and smarter than the lion. He puffed up his chest and loudly proclaimed, “I’m glad you all had fun. Now go outside and clean up the piles of leaves I raked all by myself!” Mind you, Saturday, I raked for three hours alone, while he sat in the house watching television. One kid came out to help me for the last 20 minutes. He and I  hauled the piles  of leaves away. My husband did nothing. So yesterday, I told that kid he did not have to help. He could go do homework. I would take his place and help. And I did. I also told my oldest child she could go in and do her homework. She sat on our trampoline and relaxed and watched as we finished cleaning up the piles of leaves. It was quick work, less than 20 minutes and we were done. We worked well together, laughing and enjoying more time together. My husband’s efforts to punish them (I truly believe that’s what he was doing ) for going shopping with me and having a good time, failed miserably. That’s when I noticed the change in him. He had to shift tactics. Being this stern “ruler” of the house was not working. So then he began softening. He came and asked me if I needed help cooking dinner. I did not. I did let him do the dishes, alone. He offered to make me coffee. I declined the offer. And then I went to bed, without saying goodnight to him. And then I woke this morning to him trying to be kinder and softer. 

The old me would have taken this as a sign. A sign that he doesn’t want the divorce. A sign that he is trying. But I looked for nothing, no signs, no false hope,  and  I feel pretty good about that. I was not mean to him. I was just…..nothing. I’m continuing to move forward with my plan. Tomorrow I go search for employment and work on my resume. I will take advantage of the programs offered to refresh my skills, and hopefully learn some new ones. I’m actually excited, for the first time in a long time. I’m excited to build a new life. A healthy life. I’m excited to meet myself. To learn all about me and who I am and what I want. I’m excited at a chance to find love and happiness because I deserve that. I am excited to get away from him because it is only then that I can truly begin to heal. 

I had a brief conversation with my eldest child, the one who says she wants to stay here with her father. The one who resists change and does not want to leave her friends and school. Something in the conversation this morning told me that her reasons for stating she is not coming with me are because she truly believes I am not leaving. She has not accepted this fact yet. I don’t blame her. These last several months have been a confusing mess to everyone. She has never known any other life than the one where her parents are together. And she is a lot like me, so she is looking for signs too. As long as she sees me here, and she sees her father trying to kiss or hug me, she feels hopeful. That’s how he manipulates the kids. He confuses them. And then he can say to them that the marriage ending is my fault. And I can not control that right now. Or maybe ever. BUT what I can do is remain strong. I can show them all that I am strong and I do not accept being treated poorly. And some day, they will all see this for what it truly is, and not the facade their father presents to them. That’s all I can hope for. And all I can do is be there for them when that day comes. Right now? Right now I can love my daughter. I can be there for her while she sorts this out. I can take her to her therapy appointments and even sit in with her on some. I can teach her, through my example, how to handle fear and anxiety and uncertainty. I can show her that change is not a bad thing. It’s scary when it first happens, but it is a part of life. I can show her this. Everything else she will have to learn on her own. If she chooses to stay with her father, she will quickly learn that he is emotionally incapable of giving her unconditional love and support. She will learn that he will expect her to begin cooking and cleaning, taking my place. She will learn that he holds her to a high set of moral standards that he himself is not capable of upholding. She will see that he puts his needs and wants first, always first. And while I hate the thought of all this knowledge she will acquire in my absense, it might be the only way she can see her father for who he is truly is. My job of shielding the kids from all of this is over. She is so much like me. SO Much. She wants to see the good in every person. But maybe the lesson is supposed to be learned this way? Maybe the gift here is that she will learn much sooner than I ever did, that not every person has the goodness in them she so desperately wants to be there. Maybe she will learn that not every person deserves second chances…or third…or fourth…..or fifth. And I hate this all, but just maybe this is the way it is supposed to work out for her. But no matter what, I’ll catch her when she falls. 

Today? Today I am stronger. I will not delude myself into thinking I will never have bad days and be overcome with sadness. What I will tell myself is that this is ok. I am human and I am allowed to grieve. I am allowed to be sad. But I will also tell myself that these feelings are temporary and I will not allow them to hold me back. Because today I am stronger. And tomorrow I will be even stronger than that. And the next day and the next, and the next……always stronger. 

I am stronger. 

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You Are Not Allowed Here

“I told myself if you ever behaved this way again, I would not allow you in this house ever again and I will take all the kids and you will never see them again.” 

That is what my husband told me Saturday morning. Because Friday night I was drunk and pissed off. We argued. I made the mistake of trying to talk with him and it didn’t go well. What I did was play into his gaslighting game. The alcohol impaired my judgement. I called him names. I told him to get the fuck away from me and leave me alone. I hurt his feelings. And then, because I was drunk and could not leave myself, I called the police and got a ride. Bad choices on my part. I’m ashamed of myself, but I was told that I did the right thing, removing myself from the situation. He locked me out of the house but I had a key, he was unaware of this. I was able to get back in several hours later and he was not happy. I went straight to bed. 

We spoke the following morning. I apologized for my behavior. I spoke with the children and apologized. I did not make excuses, but I offered explanations for my actions. I had just experienced an extremely emotionally charged week. Meeting with an attorney. Beginning to pack up the house. Going through 21 years of memories. I looked to him for some support. Some understanding. Some help. And yes, stupid me. I even looked for some stupid sign that he did not want this divorce. I got nothing. Zero. Zilch. I got a cold uncaring man who didn’t even lift a finger to help with the physical labor that’s required to pack up and get a large home ready to sell. So I drank. I drank a lot. 

I will never do that again. 

The good news is that I now feel at peace with my place. I’m sober. I accept this divorce is coming. I see a man who truly will never see his role in the demise of the marriage. He blames me. I was drunk and said mean things. He believes that is far worse than carrying on in an affair for nearly a year and lying to hide it. From stealing money away from our family, and from his own elderly parents, to fund the affair. He made poor choices and wants forgiveness. No one else here is afforded the same treatment. I don’t make poor choices, I am a bad person. This is what he tells me. It used to work. I’d believe him and desperately try to change. Beg for forgiveness. No more. Never again. 

I won’t drink and behave like I did Friday because I have self -respect. And it’s growing. I deserve more than this life he is giving me. I do not accept this any longer. And I will not let him think he can scare me into submission through threats of being kicked out and taking my children from me. Everything that happened Friday night was documented. I was treated at the hospital for dehydration and I have a significant heart murmur that was heard in my exam. And he told my children I ran off, he didn’t know where I was, but the hospital records show he called to see if I made it there and the police officer who transported me wrote a report stating they told him where I was going. I spoke with a social worker about the emotional abuse I’ve suffered but that I was not suicidal. I was labeled as being cooperative and rational yet emotionally abused. I was also labeled as not being a threat to myself or anyone else.  All was documented and I signed the report. And I had to take a cab home because he would not come and pick me up. That was documented too. 

We began the arduous task of filling out the dissolution paperwork yesterday. It’s no surprise he tried to manipulate me into giving up spousal support. He says I have somewhere to live, rent free, so I won’t need the money. He wants to stay in this house.  He still thinks the manipulation he has used all these years will work. I put a stop to that real fast. He understands me now. He understands that none of this will happen. I will be fair and reasonable but I will get my own attorney and fight him at the first sign that he tries anything unfair or deceptive. And because he kept me trapped here without a job for so long, he can suffer the consequences. He did that. Not me. On some level, I know I had a hand in that, but I also know I was emotionally abused into this situation. And I’m clearly stating that. 

I don’t hate him. I actually feel sorry for him. I feel sad that he will never know how great life and love can be. The only person he cheats from this day forward is himself. Me? I’m a survivor. I’m no longer a victim. 

I’m keeping my contact with him to a minimum, to avoid confrontation from this day forward. And I feel better already. 

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