The Break-Up Journal: One week later

Closure—One year no smoking. For that, I am very proud. And it means something that P is gone today too. And my beloved grandfather died on this day and C’s mom died on this day and my beloved Uncle is gone. Endings…

Being dumped seems a lot easier than dumping. It’s clean. It’s final. I have no where to go. How do you argue with “I never loved you”? I’m pleasantly not dealing with any of the ambiguity that I usually deal with when I am the one who does the breaking up. Did I make a mistake? Did I do the right thing? Will he take me back? But this. This is so final. It’s over. There’s no confusion. No guilt on my part. No second guessing. Even if he wanted to see me again I wouldn’t go. You can’t tell me you don’t think you’ve ever loved me and expect anything from me ever again. I feel so tricked.

So, the pain I am experiencing now is excruciating. It’s more powerful than me at times. I am angry too. I feel fooled. And yet, I told him last night that by telling me it’s over now it was the most humane thing to do. Like putting a dying dog down to rest. Lying and keeping me hanging on, in the dark, was, the more that I think of it, narcissitically despicable.

I have to admit too that I am more upset for Angel and Liam than I am for myself. They loved him and I know he loved them too. At times, the ease with which the three of them communicated and joked around left me feeling jealous, remote and unworthy.

It’s strange how looking back gives you such a clearer picture. Everything makes sense. Not so much in regards to his words or actions but rather, in my own instinct about stuff. I sensed his detachment. And the more I ignored my instinct, the more fucked up I became. The more obsessed. The more depressed.

But I am very proud of myself in other ways. Namely, that I remained true to myself and did not change for him. I held on to my values–at least one of them. I did not allow drugs in my life and despite his nature to try and hold on to that, I would not allow it. And through it all I maintained my sense of self—well—almost. I fell apart here and there. I lost my way. I don’t believe P can say the same for himself. I think I met him at a time in his life when he was questioning his nature and I answered the call of normalcy that he was craving. He wanted to be a man, and drive a decent car and have a woman and give up drugs and get serious about his life. He saw me as a path to those goals. Thing is, he either couldn’t manage his life in the world of “normal” or when he got there he simply realized he felt far more comfortable at the gravely, dark bottom where he’d lived his whole life. I mean, that’s not even who he is. He’s a dope-smoking, slacker who still lives in the basement of his parent’s house listening to Grateful Dead records. A classic example of failure-to-launch. He knows his growth is stunted, but he’s just unable to overcome it. Then again, is overcoming your “nature” even possible? Is he still being true to himself if he does one day decide to grow up? I think his slacker persona has become so much a part of who he is that if he changed he wouldn’t be P. I, on the other hand, saw the red flags but ignored them.

I think this is the crux of why it could never work between us. I never respected or desired that side of him. To me, that is what kept me away for years. The pot, the Dead, the lack of ambition, the laziness, the psychedelic music…I avoided seeing it. Instead, I fell for the guy he was trying to become. Not the person he was inherently. And I know he sensed this. I know he felt shame about who he wanted to be, versus who he actually was.

I say I had blinders on, I say I ignored all those qualities, but did I? He said he was done with pot. He said he would never choose that over me. He kept the rest well hidden. Maybe that’s why he avoided me so much. He was hiding. He was too afraid the real P would slip out in my presence if he hung around too much.

I see now that I carried too much of C with me into my relationship with P. P was either exactly like C or he wasn’t. But C set every standard, and P couldn’t keep up. When you are a love addict, your life is about what men offer you and what they don’t, based on the previous relationship. You’re always caught up in trying to replace what you loved and avoid what you hated. A love addict is more interested in the relationship than the actual person in the relationship. And that includes the self. I wasn’t very interested in myself at all. Another relationship to keep me safe from myself.

I suppose when you have a strong sense of self there is no ex who holds all the answers, who was “the one who got away.” There is no comparing this ex to all others and trying to replace him and avoid people unlike him. There is only self. Only instinct. And unfettered instinct leads to making clear, right decisions. Love addicts don’t use their instincts at all when it comes to men. They use men to make their decisions. It’s all so clear now.

So, here I am. Back to square one. The story of Medea comes to me. She lost everything. Her family, her house, her people, her kingdom. And when the oracle asked her, “Well, Medea, now what do you have?” She responded, “I have me.”

I don’t believe in the days to come I will be angry with P or resentful. I will mostly try to block out his memory at least for a while. There’s something to be said for willful avoidance. It’s a protection. I will calculate, at a later date, what really happened. What this really was. For now, minimal analysis. Remembering the good times is very painful. And yet, I recall writing, many months ago, how closed-off he always seemed. He had very little emotion. I believe I only saw him laugh (really laugh) once. He couldn’t laugh. He couldn’t cry. He couldn’t put into words what was going on inside him. He couldn’t even let himself go and just be. And the beginning of our relationship? To him it was pure fantasy. It is evidenced in our journals that he wrote. Even then, his writing was so self-focused and self-serving. He rarely, if ever, was able to step outside himself to become interested in me, in my stories, in my life. I remember the very day it occurred to me. I was telling him a story of my childhood on one of our long drives into the country. For the first time, after many months of me telling him many stories, he actually said he liked the story. He could relate. I instantly found it odd because it was the first time he actually said that to me.

He was greatly defensive of the times I suggested he might be slightly narcissistic. How dare I suggest such a thing. And yet, the more I think about it, the more I think that that is perhaps what he was. I think he hid his narcissism behind the idea that he had a dog, behind the fact that he liked kids, and animals. That a complete loss of the African elephant would be a devastation to humanity and the world (he never donated time or money to saving the elephants, by the way). But he was utterly incapable of coming outside of himself.

Well, hopefully, some new woman will have the capacity to inspire in him more that I was capable of. A woman without an identity as strong as mine that I didn’t like suppressing.

You know, I could feel and sense his dislike of me sometimes. I’m not sure I ever felt that with C. I believe C always, truly loved me. Who knows anymore. But, I can say that throughout my relationship with P, I always maintained that I preferred C’s way of communicating. C was very interested in my stories, in my thought, in my opinion. He loved the way my brain worked. Not P. In fact, he had a nasty habit of belittling me or denying that something I knew or came up with could possibly have come from me. He loved to be right to the point of slash and burn. He would set everyone else on fire just so he could be the authority.

I also remember thinking at one point that nothing memorable ever happened on our trips. At one point, I forgot we went to Colorado for my birthday! Could it possibly be because of P’s lack of attachment, his lack of emotions? Do emotions make memories? I guess only time will tell.

It’s all so very sad.

I am confused about so many things. And then, I have this very brief moment of clarity. I see everything as I should. I feel strong and confident. I have hope. And then, as if I am dreaming, I awake and the nightmare is still there. I lose everything and I don’t know why this happened or how. What did I do wrong? Why wasn’t I paying closer attention? Every cell in my body cries out for clarity, for answers.

I think of all the things he gave up, just for pot. A beautiful woman, a creative, secure, stable, healthy, romantic, sexy, smart, funny kind woman, with two beautiful kids and a great house. Just as I write this I see it for the first time. The value of me. Not what I lost. What he lost.

And then I think I invested too much too fast. And I pushed my healthy, “great life” down his throat and guilted him into attending family functions and kids events way too soon. And on top of that, I demanded closeness and love and attention and affection, all within a timely fashion. All these demands placed on a man whose nature is to move slower than molasses, who has so little ambition, who is content in his own skin, alone. I expected too much too fast. Accept me. This is me. These are my values. This is my family. Listen to me. Don’t fuck up. Pay attention to me.

And the poor man, who by nature is used to existing in the assisted force of his own ego, fearful of others, timid, trepid, I shook him hard and said “Love me in this way, or lose me.” I had little respect for or patience for his pace. His slowness. His way. Was he the narcissist or was I? It ultimately was all about me, and meeting my needs and having the perfect life. Oh yes, and making sure he made none of the same mistakes C made.

It’s no wonder the pot seemed so appealing to him. He tried so hard to please me that he started to lose himself. In the end, he figured pot was who he was. And pot was the one wall he could put up that I couldn’t knock down.

In the end, I’d like to believe I set reasonable conditions. No drugs. Love me. Spend time with me. That’s all. I could have put up with all the other shit. Hell, I’m a love addict. We have a high tolerance for abuse. I may have gotten a little carried away in meeting my needs, but overall, I didn’t ask for much. I just asked for them from the wrong person.

But what does that matter now? It doesn’t. What matters is what my mother always told me: The problem doesn’t matter. All that matters is how you fix it.

How do I heal? What do I do? Where do I start? Is my biggest lesson in life that I can no longer have needs, or expectations? Or can I still have these things, but just expect them from a different type of person who can actually meet my needs? Like, if I’m a family girl and actually love having a minivan and picking pumpkins and sitting around a table with my family for Sunday dinner, why on earth would I date someone like C who wants nothing to do with family? Why would I date someone like P who is a loner and wants nothing to do with marriage? I’m like a girl who wants to buy fireworks at a bakery. I make no sense. I’m in the wrong store. And worse than that, I am in a state that doesn’t even permit the sale of fireworks.

I realized something today and I guess I’ll end with this. I wasn’t very hard to “win” in the big scheme of dating. I was an easy catch. “You want to fall in love? OK sure. I’m in.” I was easy because I was desperate. I was lonely. I was hungry. And then, once I got into the relationship, easy-peasy, I expected P to “fight for” me, to struggle for me. I wanted him to work so hard. For what? I set the tone that this whirlwind romance would consist of me serving myself on a silver platter and him sitting back in his Henry the VIII-esque throne being fed my scrumptious self with little or no effort on his part. What did I expect?

Healing begins with that, I suppose. It begins with the groundedness of reality. The tree’s roots set firmly in the earth. A little water. A little sunlight. Air. I think I’ll start there. I predict I have a long growing season.










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