Waking From My Own Nightmare

This post I’m doing strictly for me.  It’s something I need.  This isn’t easy for me.

I am seeing a lifelong cycle in me that I’ve repeated countless times.  I don’t want to repeat it anymore.  It’s been slowly destroying me over time.

It’s to do with my relationships with men.  And until now . . . until these last 24 hours . . . I’ve always seen the situations from their point of view.  I’ve been completely understanding of their side, and I’ve never recognized my own feelings about it.  I feel an opportunity at the moment to finally let those feelings come through, and so I’m going to give it a go.

This is not about trying to make myself look good or to bash the men from my past.  My own part in all of this is not any healthier or better than the part the men played.  But I’ve always given voice to their side of the situation, and today I am in great need of giving my side a voice.

I very easily give of myself and ask for nothing in return.  I didn’t know I did it.  And I don’t mean that I did this in a “I’m so good and pure I didn’t even know I was being taken advantage of” kind of way, I mean I did it in a very unhealthy and disempowered way.  There is a *true* way of giving of self and asking for nothing in return vibration that is in alignment with the Divine and is truly a compassionate and unconditional Love.  But this . . . what I have been doing in my intimate relationships, is *not* of that vibration.

I give all of myself in relationships, to men who are unable to give anything of themselves.  Who are in fact, unaware of anyone outside of themselves.  I am not accustomed to receiving anything from my partner.  Whether material gifts, emotional support, etc.  But I am accustomed to being restricted and controlled . . . owned.  They can do whatever they want, but I must toe the line.  They are the nicest guys.  Their reasons for why they do what they do make complete and total sense to me.  They are convinced themselves that they are nice guys.

My ex-husband, who I divorced when my son was still a baby, hadn’t worked since I was 8 months along in pregnancy.  I had an emergency C-section which is considered major surgery.  I was scared to death to sneeze or cough because it felt like all my internal organs would come out.  I was exhausted.  But my husband had completely withdrawn from me and the baby.  He refused to help with the baby ever.  He refused to help with anything at all.

I was still in high school at the time.  I had to take the baby with me and put him in daycare while I was in school.  I then took a bus into downtown to work a part time job I had gotten.  I don’t remember who watched the baby while I did that, but I can assure you it was some convoluted process which was completely ridiculous in nature.  I would then get home late in the evening and cook dinner and make bottles and whatever else had been neglected during the day.  My husband just sat in the living room playing some imaginary game along the lines of dungeons and dragons.  This was all just in the first two months of my son’s life.

Towards the end of the marriage, there is one memory in particular that just blows my mind and I have never understood.  At the time we were staying with my dad in another state.  I had gotten another job there shortly after we arrived, at a Supercenter being built in town.  I often worked 80 hours a week.  I lost about 90 lbs. in the first couple of months of working because I didn’t eat very much and did a lot of physical labor.

I had to pay for a babysitter to watch the baby in the same house that my husband sat in all day.  At $5/hr I made a dime over minimum wage.  I still had to get up all night with the baby.  The one time I shoved my husband out of bed to make him get the baby because I was exhausted, I woke up to him growling in a menacing manner to the baby to shut the fuck up.  Which resulted in me punching something hard and metal next to my bed in order to get my anger out before I marched over to him and the baby, calming myself before gently taking the baby and laying him back in the crib and then grabbing a hold of my husband and dragging him into another room to tell him that if I ever heard him talking or treating the baby in that way again, I would fucking kill him.

I was starved, sleep deprived, and dealing with an adult child who saw himself as superior to me and would yell things at me like how I was the stupidest fucking person he had ever met.  Years later, I’d find out that him and his family would laugh and make fun of me behind my back because they thought I was so gullible and would believe anything.  Fine.  Whatever.

Eventually I asked for a divorce.  In which case he decided it would be a good idea to get a job now to impress me.  He did get a job.  I was not impressed.  I was exhausted and done.  But now to the scenario that I’ll never understand.  He had his first paycheck in hand.  I had mine.  We borrowed a car and went shopping.  I put my stuff on the conveyor belt to pay from my paycheck.  Every single solitary item was a necessity.  Baby food, diapers, etc.  Now, keep in mind that I was the only one who had worked since the baby had been born and every penny had been going to his care.

The cashier rang my stuff up . . . I didn’t have enough money.  I was literally handing over every dime of my paycheck for things I HAD to have to make it until the next paycheck and have enough supplies for the baby.  I needed every single diaper.  I looked to my husband, and I asked if he could please get one of the packages of diapers with his money.  And the man about had a temper tantrum right there in line.  This was my place of work, so I was completely embarrassed by his behavior but also FURIOUS at his attitude.  I gave him the death stare.  He said, “Fine!  That means I’ll have to put back a pair of my sunglasses!”

Which is when I looked at all of the stuff on the conveyor belt and saw that all of it, every single bit of, was stuff for him personally.  Clothes, TWO pairs of sunglasses, along with a bunch of other stupid shit he didn’t need.  Not a single thing for the baby.  Not even a small something for me, his wife and mother of his child who had been killing herself to keep the family afloat.  And the fact that I had to have a fight with him in the middle of a store in order to make him pay for one package of diapers.  Besides his sperm, that was the only other contribution he made to his son.

My dad and step mom were not happy with my decision to divorce.  My dad saw it as me being just like my mother and pulling a man’s child away from him.  So on top of all of it, when I came home at night, I had to see my own family being buddy, buddy with my husband and telling him he didn’t have to leave, he could stay as long as he wanted.  And I was the shunned evil ice queen.  Fine.  Whatever.  I’ll just go be busy with being responsible while everyone else eats grapes and chocolate on their high horses.

Another relationship that comes to mind, was a little later in my life when I was back in Washington state, and was working at my first office job.  I made better money, but still not enough to fully support me and my son.

I started dating an engineer.  To me, this was a huge step up because . . . well he had a job.  I had remembered how stressful it had been on me to not have my husband working and me being leaned on financially so I didn’t want to do that to another person.  He made good money, but I didn’t want him to think that’s why I was with him.

But here’s the part I’m just now realizing I should probably be angry about, but I never felt like I had any right to be mad about.

At this time I was making about $8/hr.  After killing myself making $5/hr . . . this was heaven.  But I also had more expenses, such as gas for a four hour daily commute.  Most of my clothes had come from charity and were well worn.  At the time I had a nasty smoking habit.  Ironically, it was the one thing I spent money on for myself.  I’m pretty sure subconsciously I was hoping they did kill me.  Also because I spent money on them, I had to cut from somewhere else in my expenditures, and the only other negotiable choice was my food.  For two years, I basically lived on Diet Dr. Pepper and cigarettes.  Except for the occasional times people took me out for meals.  I was so skinny, it hurt to sit because my bones would bruise my skin.

Just trying to set the scene, and no, I did not make great choices but I was a single divorced mom by 19 . . . so give me a break.

So things got serious with this guy and we eventually moved in together.  He used to take me to downtown Seattle to the (now) Macy’s to go clothes shopping.  For himself.  He would say, “Hey!  Do you want to go with me clothes shopping?”, and I was all “YEAH!” and then several hundred dollars later he’d be packing his new car with a whole new wardrobe for himself.

I was excited for him to be able to do this for himself, because I am the kind of person who is genuinely happy for other’s happiness.  But as the day wore on and I realized that there was ZERO intention of me getting any new clothes, I found myself many times trying not to burst into tears right there in the middle of the store.  I felt so pathetic, standing there in my clothes from charity, and having selfishly thought that he had maybe wanted to surprise me and do something for me.  I told myself at the time that I shouldn’t expect that of him because it is his money and he does get to choose what he does with it.  I blamed myself for making such a rash assumption and then causing myself undue disappointment.

There was the time he dragged me into the Versace store.  To again show off how much his jeans were that he had bought there.  This wasn’t just a one time thing, he did things of this nature the entire relationship.

Did I mention that he made 6 figures at the time?

We once got into a huge fight because I was having a hard time paying my half of the rent.  I had childcare costs, which is the equivalent of a mortgage payment in it’s own right.  So, yes, I was struggling to pay my HALF of the rent to a man I was in a serious relationship with.  At the time it seemed “fair” and I fucking beat myself up emotionally for being such a loser that I wasn’t able to keep up with the expenses off of my very modest paycheck.

We got in a fight over toilet paper.  He said I used way too much toilet paper.  I asked if he had ever lived with a woman before, because bitches use a lot of toilet paper.  I asked if he wanted me to stop wrapping up the tampons and just throw them straight into the garbage, blood and all.  He told me to stop being so wasteful and ridiculous.  I told him to fuck off.  I had my limits, and apparently toilet paper was one of them.

He traveled all over.  Without me.  He went to visit his family at home in Ireland.  He went to Vegas.  Up to Canada with his friends.  He was living quite the life while we were together.  But very little of it had anything to do with me.  After the initial “falling in love” phase, he never made me feel like I was beautiful to him.  More like I was just a hot piece of ass.  Big difference.  He acted like I was some gold-digging burden when in fact I bent over backwards trying to show that it wasn’t about the money for me.  I was all in for the relationship and him.  To him I was just this pretty object he pulled down from the shelf every once in awhile when he was bored or needed to get his rocks off.  There wasn’t much more of him present in the relationship.  He mostly tolerated me.

I went from relationship to relationship with similar outcomes.  The guy was always totally stuck in himself even as he convinced me that the things he did were for me.  And I believed it.  But in hindsight, I can see how all of it can be traced back to themselves.  They weren’t in a relationship with me, they were in a relationship with my body and then some made up picture they projected over the top of me.  So, basically a relationship with themselves.

But to be fair, I was doing the same.  Projecting a much prettier picture over them from myself.  I used to say and I still want to say that I loved them because of the soul I saw inside . . . and maybe that is true at some level.  But at the personal level, I wasn’t in love with who the men really were, I was in love with how I thought they were based on who I was inside.  My interpretations of their behavior was based on how I saw and experienced the world . . . not the truth of the situation.

Eventually I took an 8 year break from relationships altogether.  To understand who I was outside of a relationship.  Somewhere at the 6 year mark I had a couple of flings and saw that nope, I’m not ready yet to get back out dating.  Still attracting douches.

Which brings us up to a couple of years ago.  By this time I was making a good living and able to fully support me and my son on my own.  I thought this would change my relationship dynamics.  I’m good on my own now, both emotionally and financially.  I don’t have to be in a relationship if I don’t want to.  Therefore, I will be less likely to repeat my cursed cycle from all those years ago when I was a spring chicken.

But I was wrong.  I put in all I had to try and not repeat my relationship doom . . . and it still happened again.  Because the real issue isn’t to do with money.  It’s an attitude.  A habit.  So even though in my last relationship, we were both fine financially, psychologically it was the same dynamic.  Just incredibly more sophisticated in nature.

It started out with a bang, all in love, la-de-da.  But slowly over time, I was making more and more compromises on my end, while nothing changed on the other end.  So sure that this relationship was meant to be, I put away all thoughts that maybe it wasn’t meant to work and set to work to doing whatever was needed in order to make it succeed.

They say relationships are about compromise.  So if he was stuck and didn’t know how to get around an obstacle, I’d step in and help him work it out.  Until one day I realized that nothing had ever actually moved forward in the relationship, but that now all of my time was being focused on him and helping him become “unstuck”.  He didn’t have to work and had zero responsibilities except to feed, shower, and clothe himself . . . and he had all of my time and attention.  I work full time, I’m a mom, I have pet(s), I have a household to run, I’m over here in the USA doing everything by myself . . . and now I was also giving my undivided attention to helping him figure things out so that he could get out in life.

In my mind, I thought I was investing and building a strong foundation for the two of us for our future.  I was dedicated and determined to figuring out this relationship phenomenon.  I sacrificed and compromised.  When I said this was hard trying to make things works across a continent and an ocean, he said yes it was hard for him too.  And in the midst of my insanity I thought that he really did understand how hard this was all on me.  Because again,  I projected my understanding onto him.

He’s never had to work a day in his life.  He doesn’t have the first fucking clue what I was living through this last two years.  That’s just a perfect example of how we trip ourselves up.  I should have KNOWN he didn’t really understand or know what this was all doing to me.  I should have known that someone who doesn’t have any real responsibilities, is just plain incapable of understanding my life.  It’s just not possible.

Just like when people say that you can’t understand what it’s like to have kids until you have kids?  And the people without kids get all up in arms and defensive like they’ve been insulted.  It’s because you CANNOT understand what you don’t know or haven’t experienced yourself.  It’s only after you’ve had it or experienced it that you can THEN see that, omg . . . no, I really could not have known that until now.

That was basically our whole relationship in a nutshell.  The issue being that he convinced me that he really did know and understand this or that even though he never did it himself personally, and me having done or experienced those things personally, didn’t believe that I knew better than him.

As I said to him once, he was more confident in his own bullshit than I was in my truth.

Which basically sums up my life.  The root cause of how I become my own worst enemy, relationship after relationship.

So the solution isn’t about those men changing.  There are always going to be dicks around.  They have to even see that they’re being dicks before they can work on changing themselves.  And you have to really want to change yourself in order to put in the hard work required.  So no, that’s not the solution.

What I also don’t want to do is close my heart and become one of them.  That’s not a choice in my book.

So that leaves myself.  I need to lay down better boundaries and enforce them, even at risk of offending or making things awkward.  I can’t do this to myself again.  As I get older, I have a harder time recovering from this level of bullshit mistake.

I have to be more fair to myself.  I have to stand up and protect myself from others who *are* being douchebags.  Not because they don’t deserve love, kindness, and understanding . . . but because it’s a fucking waste of time when someone is all closed up like that.  They will just take and take and take until you’re drained and then toss you aside because you no longer serve a purpose for them.  Sacrificing yourself doesn’t make them “see the light”.  They’re so used to people giving them everything they want and bending over backwards that the people around them just become this blur of stuff that doesn’t really register on their radar or even really care about.

It’s not worth it.  It’s absolutely not worth it.  But maybe if people quit believing their bullshit, and quit fucking enabling them and doing everything for them . . . maybe they’ll be made uncomfortable enough that they finally do choose to fix their shit.  It has to affect them personally before they have motivation to change.  But that’s actually not my concern or my own motivation.  They can choose to change or not change, either way I’m not going to let them have a say in my own life anymore.

Now, some of those fuckers are tricky.  They start using shit like they’ll die if you don’t do this or that for them.  They’ll start acting like they’re just a weak sack of shit that needs you.  “What will I do without you, I can’t make it without you.”  Or say stuff like, “I can’t, but I just can’t.”  No. No.  That’s emotional blackmail.  That’s bullshit.  Don’t coerce or manipulate me into putting up with your bullshit, by hinting, suggesting, or even straight out telling me that the consequences of not putting up with it, could lead to your death or demise.

If you play that shit on me, then I guess you’re going to die if it’s true, because I do not fucking play that game.

I have NOT had an easy life and I have gone through some of the most insane stuff, but time and time again I have had to pull my shit together by sheer will power, and all on my own with little to no support in order to have the life that I have now which is insanely more happy than my childhood.  I refuse to be a victim.  I refuse to be a statistic.  So I’m not going to sit there and allow others to behave in that manner towards me anymore like I’m the one that doesn’t get it or understand their suffering.  I understand TOO well, but that doesn’t mean you get to wimp out in your own life or make other people responsible for your crap.  Pick up your own shit and fix it yourself.

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