In a nutshell…

You know, when I re-made this blog, I wanted SO very much to go from victim to survivor and I felt I could simply make myself do that if I forced myself and tried hard enough.  I know now that was a wish…not what actually happens in reality.  (Where are you, Fairy Godmother?).

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Truthfully, I’m still struggling and I’m doing a disservice by pretending I’m not.  Oh, I’m BETTER!!  SO much better!!  I can get out of bed without spending minutes struggling to force myself out of it.  I can shop, run, eat out by myself and feel good about it.  I can get through a day without crying…not many, but some.  I can see the blessings I have and am thankful for my family, pets, home, career, etc.  But there are still hard days.

There are still days where I wonder if I want to continue in this life.  Days where I want to hide from the world.  Where I ‘nest’ and make excuses to family and friends as to why I can’t see them.  Days where I cry and I don’t know when I’ll be able to stop.  Days I struggle with my depression, and then beat myself up for not being stronger.  Days I hear people saying ‘Enough…you have to think positively’ and I do.  I really do.  But the pain of this past year is still with me, and I can’t pretend otherwise.  I just can’t.

Getting better and healing, I’ve learned, is a process.  Not an act.  Sometimes when I find myself sad and weepy, I wonder just what it is I’m crying for.

Hubby 3 and I separated right around Christmas last year, and things had started getting bad during Thanksgiving, when I chose to go be with my son, instead of staying home with hubby.  I’ve always gone to spend Thanksgiving with my son and hubby was always fine with it.  I’m not sure what triggered his animosity last year, but it was the last straw in many ways.  This past week, I found out something about my marriage which I had suspected, but wasn’t sure of.  And it’s that my hubby has been with someone else for a period of time.  I truly blamed myself for our lack of intimacy (e.g. closeness and sex) these past couple of years, and when he moved out, he insisted he was living in the detached garage of a friend that didn’t even have electricity.  I asked his address numerous times, and he would always say he was ashamed to tell me since he was living so poorly.  I wondered about this since he makes what I do…has 7 Harleys (I had a scooter)…and got a houseful of furniture that I had previously purchased.  But I believed him because I loved him…and still do.  When I received our divorce papers in the mail the other day, I saw his address and looked it up.  Then drove by.  He’s living in a house much nicer than mine, and there’s no detached garage.  His work truck was in the drive and his van by the curb.  I called him about it and finally, after a long while, he admitted he had been living with someone and had been doing so since he left.  Have you ever heard the expression ‘I felt like I’d been sucker punched?’  That’s what I felt.  I literally lost my breath and felt like throwing up.  No matter what ever happened between hubby and me, I always believed we were genuine with each other.  We revealed things to each other I’ve NEVER ever shared with anyone else, and he did the same.  To find out he’d moved in with someone, while LYING about it, hurt like bloody hell.  It makes me question our last 2 years together, and I’m so furious at him for making me feel the separation was all about me.  Yes, like I said, I still love him.  But, my respect and trust in him is gone.  And that breaks my heart.

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My mentor died on Dec. 28th.  He was a prof of Political Science and from the day I started teaching as an adjunct, he was my friend, ally, and mentor.  He took me under his wing, and not 1 day went by where he didn’t joke with me, hug me, talk to me, or make me smile and feel good.  He did the same for my son.  My son was 3 when I started teaching part-time, and I’d often bring him to school with me while I graded or picked things up.  Larry always treated my son like gold…was really like a Godfather to him.  Once, when my son was around 10, he was at school with me while Larry had a class.  Larry saw him, and let my son ‘lecture’ to his students.  My son did incredibly well, and Larry was duly impressed!  When my son was a student at the college, Larry always gave him and his friends lunch money and hung out with them at times.  I know my son loved him as much as I did.

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Here’s something I’ve never really talked about before, but I’m ready now.  Do you remember the story about the U.S.S. John McCain that was hit by a commercial liner and 10 navy men died this August?  One of those was my nephew, Logan.  My son and Logan were born only 5 months apart, and us 2 families lived only a mile apart. Further, our house was built on my hubby’s parent’s property so Logan and his siblings were often at Grandma’s and next door to us.  My son was always over to be with them.  The kids often played at our house too, and my son and Logan were always on the same ball teams, soccer teams, boy scout troops, etc.  I also did a lot with my son during the summers and Logan and his siblings were included.  Trips to the zoo…swimming almost everyday…going to playgrounds…and I loved it.  After my son’s dad and I got divorced, I never stopped being in contact with my in-laws and these wonderful kids.  Like my sister always says, “Blood is thicker than water, but love is stronger than both!”  And it’s true.  My nephews and niece weren’t ‘in-law’…they were MINE.

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As Logan and his brother got older, they went to my college and took some of my classes!  It was a hoot and they always loved it when I would tell my students that I changed their diapers when they were babies!  If they weren’t in my classroom (even when they didn’t have class with me but just wanted to sit in), they were in my office or we were making a McDonald’s run over my lunch hour.  Those years at school with them were so awesome.  Before Logan left for what was to be a years long deployment, he came to see me.  We couldn’t stop hugging and I cried the entire time.  Before he said goodbye, the last thing Logan said to me was that he loved me so much and I was another mom to him.  Wow.  I told him he was another son as well.  Period.  When the ships collided, Logan was on the top deck.  Safe.  But, despite his superior’s order not too, my nephew ran down to the bottom deck because his friends were down there.  He saved 3 of his friends, before he was caught in a compartment and drowned.  My 24 year old nephew knowingly risked, and gave, his life for these other men.  All 3 were pallbearers at his funeral, and one of them became a father a couple of weeks after the accident.  I miss Logan like hell.  He was the cutest, funniest, orneriest, silliest kid and I loved his spunk.  A memorial was put up at Pearl Harbor honoring the fallen, and there were boots lined up with the badges of the sailors.  On Logan’s badge was my last picture taken with him.  He carried me around.  Me.  And I’ll carry him in my heart forever.

The student who is stalking me and harassing me is still out there too (please excuse the language in these texts…but I wanted you to see what I’m dealing with…it turns into gibberish and apparently, he was drunk.  I’ve also taken off any identifying information.).

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He has not been formally expelled from my college yet, despite the blatant, written threats against my life.  My yard was full of pistachios the other day which can be fatal to dogs in large quantities, and I have a feeling it was him who scattered them.  I also have seen a car, like his, parked where I walk my dog and have the sense of being watched.  This man, who started by writing me love poems, and ended by telling me I was a Jewish whore who he damned to hell…a kike…a ‘Lydia Lampshade’ is still living blocks from me, and not yet banned from campus.  I feel like a sitting duck.  It’s stressful to think I have to be on the lookout every minute.

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Security on campus walks me to and from my classes and my door is locked after my classes begin.  I feel as if my campus is now a prison and I hate it. My safe, fun, personal space is now a scary one.

Over these past months I’ve written so much about Sarge, and yes, I’m still struggling with the effects of his abuse too.  Things he has said to me resonate in my mind, and everything I’ve ever been proud of like crafting, my degrees, my position at the college he has put down, made fun of, and has forced me to hear these negative words over and over in my mind.  When this happens, I fight it.  But let’s be honest, those words are still in there.  We can push them down…but we can’t force ourselves to forget them.  And on bad days, those words take on much more emphasis.  I’m also very much coping with the infidelity.  Now that I know my hubby did the same, it magnifies its’ significance and makes me question what I’M doing wrong that these 2 men chose to cheat on me.  My sexual self-esteem is pretty low right now.

This has been the worst year of my 50 year life, and as I read back to this, I simply can’t believe everything that’s happened.  It’s almost to the point of it sounding made-up!  I wish it were.

So, I’m going to allow myself to have good days, but bad days too.  I’m not going to feel guilty for crying.  For mourning.  For being depressed.  It’s not that I’m not moving forward.  It’s because I need to grieve my losses and come to terms with all the things I have experienced this year.  Making a sun-shiney blog isn’t my big fix.  I thought it would be.  I hoped it would reflect something new in me that was healed and ready to go full steam ahead.  Life is harder than that though, isn’t it?  I have sunshine, but I still have clouds and rain too.  And, I’ve learned it’s OK.  Life isn’t all great.  And life isn’t all bad.  It’s taking each day as it comes.  Doing the best you can.  And allowing yourself to feel genuinely about what’s happening.  And that, my friends, is what I’m going to do.

I love you all.

Prof K ❤

 

 

“It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” ~ Rocky Balboa

When my son was in high school, he had a girlfriend and was crazy about her.  She was his first love, and he thought she would be his last.  You see, my son was different than most other young men his age.  He has always been more mature than his peers, and is a very decisive person.  When he makes up his mind about something, that’s pretty much it.  He’s not one to make rash decisions and when he does make a choice about something, it means he’s quite serious about it.  So, when he said his girlfriend was his forever, I believed him as well.  After 2 years, they broke up and my son was devastated.  He is very introverted in terms of his feelings, and I remember him lying on his futon and telling me he just didn’t know what to do about his emotional reaction…his grief.  Because of his (self-proclaimed) lesser sensitivity in other areas of his life, he was gobsmacked at the feelings that flooded him.  At one point, not knowing how to handle this wave, he put his fist through his bedroom wall and I was greatly concerned he would hurt himself as well.

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As time has a way of doing, his grief lessened and he began dating again.  He got engaged to a nice young woman who he was in love with, but after a while of living together, they realized they were incompatible and the engagement was cancelled.  My son will be moving home within the next few months from living a few states away (I simply can’t wait!) and obviously, his ex-fiancé will not be coming, even though they are still close.  As he told me about the broken engagement, he did so in a very calm way.  I asked him if he was upset and he stated he was, but the way he has been handling it has been admirable.

This summer, when the grief of Sarge and the abuse I endured came to its’ fullest fruition, I was, of course, heartbroken.  My way of handling the enormous feelings I had was to cry, ruminate, hide myself, seriously consider suicide and was going to be hospitalized until my doctor and counselor helped me avoid that situation through other means.  I, like my son, was at a loss on how to handle the despair I was feeling…along with the emotions tied to the abuse that was present in our relationship.

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I talked to my son, or actually cried and tried to formulate words during our conversations, and asked him how he could be doing so well regarding his cancelled engagement.  This is what he said to me:  “Mom…you need to grow tougher skin and not allow yourself to be hurt so badly.  After my high school breakup, I promised I would never let myself get hurt to that degree again.  And I haven’t.”

I thought about this a lot over the next few weeks, and have come to understand that building a thicker wall around my heart is necessary.  After this summer, I simply can’t go through the same again.  So, the construction has started.  I’m learning to see that things Sarge said to me aren’t true.  Just because a person feels a certain way about you, it certainly doesn’t mean that is who you are.

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When I was with him, I believed the things Sarge said to me and was also convinced I deserved the abuse he perpetrated on me too.  I believed I was worthless.  Not important.  Just an object that had been used.  I believed I deserved his discards and abusive ways.  I believed his infidelity was because of a lack in me.  I believed issues with his family and ex-wife were my fault.  And on and on and on.

I’m finally coming to understand these things aren’t true.  I do have worth and I’m an important person simply because I’m a child of God.  I’m not an object to be used, but a woman who deserves love and respect because that’s what I bring to a relationship.  I did NOT deserve his discards…I deserved a man who would sincerely talk out problems and work at managing conflict.  I certainly didn’t deserve his abuse, and his infidelity was because of a lack in him.   A lack of boundaries and not being able to see the hurt infidelity causes another.  It was his sexual issue…not mine.  I didn’t deserve the triangulation he used against me with his family, ex-wife, and infidelity partner, and I understand now he was pitting me against them for his own purposes.   And…I believe that no matter what I might have said or done, I did NOT deserve to be caught in the web of a narcissist.

I’m feeling my heart getting stronger and like my son, I’m realizing I will NEVER allow myself to hurt like this again.  Never.  I’m going to be much more careful with my heart, and protect it the best I can.  I know I can depend on me.  I know I’m a valuable person.  I know that I have realized what my boundaries must be.  I know I can toughen up.  And I’m determined to do so.

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There’s a lot of negative things Sarge left me with.  But here’s the positive:  he’s strengthened my resolve and has forced me to become a tougher woman whose first responsibility is to herself.  For that, and only that, I thank him.

This is what I know:  we can change, grow, and learn to be more vigilant when it comes to matters of the heart.  We can learn to protect ourselves against toxic people and toughen our resolve.  We can learn new methods of coping and come to realize we are enough as we are, and that we can depend on ourselves fully.  We no longer have to allow a partner to determine how we feel…how we see ourselves…how we react.  How about this?  Let’s start toughening up together.

Professor K