Addition through subtraction – What have you let go of this year and how has it affected you?
Oh, this one is so easy to respond to I feel like I’m cheating. This year, I let go of the idea that staying married meant having a successful marriage. I wanted, almost above anything, certainly above my own true happiness, to only be married once. I wanted to find The One. I married a man that I told myself was A One, so why not The One? I went into it with the vows securely in my heart.
Through good times and bad. We went through lots of bad, and a few good. But with my boundless fount of optimism, we’d have good. I KNEW this, because if it wasn’t true then… what was left?
Through sickness and health. He had a disease. He said so. Alcoholism. He’d battle it. For him, then me, then him, then me and his family, then anyone who would listen and give him the attention that he craved. He never really committed to the battle against it, be he damned sure committed to the disease. I sat with him at any meeting he wanted me to join him at.
For richer, for poorer. Oh, we had a short time that was for richer. Then he drank it, I spent it on what I could, and then we had a long time of poorer. And poorer. And even poorer when he lost several different jobs.
To love the other person unconditionally. I learned that he didn’t even love himself. How on earth could he commit to loving me? I committed to loving him like only a good codependent can.
Through the 5 years we were married, 6 years together, we had some bright shiny moments. We had moments that were terrible and infuriating and I told myself that thats how life was. You just loved your hardest to get through it. I put stock into things like astrology, so when I say I’m a Taurus, understand that means stubborn to the point of idiocy and that I am intractable. I am MARRIED goddamn it. This MEANS something. The only thing it meant was that I was stuck. Unhappy.
His father told me once that he didn’t understand why I was still married to his son, but he was glad for his son’s sake. I think on some level, his family expected the divorce. In the beginning, I confided in his family. They came to my rescue so many times. I had to stop because I felt like I was taking away HIS support system, that by telling them the truth about him, they would love him less. I started pulling away because I knew that I had to protect myself against another loss of family. I miss them, but if things had ended with his family still loving me, still caring, I would miss them more.
I did the same with mutual friends that I felt he had more claim on. I loved the group of people I met through him, but I knew they would be who he turned to when he needed support. I didn’t want to take that from him.
I lied for him. I put on the best happy face I could (which probably wasn’t all that happy) and bore through social events. I apologized for him. I was judged with him. I carried through every cute little codependent action possible.
Understand that I’m highly aware of my actions, reasoning behind them and what psychological significance it has… after the fact. Its my fanciest coping mechanism. Reason! Order! Sense!
I can tell you that when I was starting to distance myself from friends and family, it was a protective measure that I didn’t realize I was doing. I didn’t know that I was getting myself ready to leave him. Wasn’t aware that I was doing such a considerate thing for him because I’m a codependent. I married him because I wanted to help FIX an alcoholic like I couldn’t fix my dad. I wanted what my parents didn’t have. But what I got was exactly what they had. Then I started to see the regularity with which the same story, but different details, got told by me to my friends.
I reevaluated marriage. What did it mean to me, and what did I want from it? It meant mutual love, trust and a true partnership with respect. It meant that we supported and encouraged each other, that we shared. I wanted someone to give me real support, not lip service. I wanted someone who I could trust in every matter. I wanted someone who loved me for my faults as well as my awesomeness.
It came down to trust.
It came down to self love.
It came down to respect.
I no longer loved myself. I no longer trusted or respected my husband. He would tell me something, and I had to ask myself what the percentage of truth was on this story was. He would lie when I found a duffle bag FULL of joose cans, “Those are old.” I allowed him to treat me in ways that made me lose my respect for myself. He cheated 4 times. 4.
It was when I realized that I felt the same about myself that I did about him, that I had to let go of the idea that I was saving our marriage by staying married. The marriage was killing my sense of self. Who I was. I was molding myself into this little nothing that cleaned up after him. The hardest thing to do was to stop. To make his mistakes HIS responsibilities. Sometimes, admitting failure and going to a dark place to lick your wounds is a type of success. It allows you to heal. To move on.
Can I trust myself with relationships again? I don’t know. I hope I can. I’m taking anything that comes at me slowly. Examining the angles and my own behavior. Knowing what my brand of crazy is helps.