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.