Archive for February, 2014

Being Amber

February 25, 2014

It’s no secret that I need a little bad tv from time to time.  I like the Real Housewives but only Atlanta and Orange County.  Over the weekend I watched some Teen Mom and then part of the new series with individual follow-ups.  I have always been somewhat annoyed by the Amber and Gary situation.  Gary is a crazy manipulator and he always reminds me of people who I don’t like.  And not just because he is a fat whiney slob.  The show on Sunday with Amber saying “You made me promises and strung me along” is on a loop in my brain.  It makes me think about Ed and his resistance to letting me get on with my life. 

When we first went to marriage counseling one of the things the counselor asked was about my past serious relationships.  Even though I had dated a lot, and had a kid when I was a teenager, Ed was the first person I lived with, the first person that I was “independent” with.  While it is obvious that divorce is final, many people can continue to be civil to one another.  That isn’t Ed and I.

Watching Gary when Amber was explaining her pain and frustration hit really close to home.  She gave up a lot for him, she put up with a lot from him, and he was TRULY enjoying having two women who were emotionally tied up in their interactions with him.  That smirk, that justification for bad behavior, saying that he would always love her.  That is the kind of business that Ed pulled.    That abusive pattern where people try to get what they want without caring for the other person makes me crazy.  I think that jail made a huge difference in Amber’s life and I hope that she can move on and live her dreams.  Hopefully her bad experiences with Gary will help her to quickly recognize predators in the future.

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What a Nightmare

February 17, 2014

Last night I had a bad nightmare about Ed.  It’s been a long time since that happened and it left me a little shaken up this morning.  I had car trouble and ended up back at our old house in the historical district.  The last time I was there the house was in a shambles – rotting food, dirty dishes, clothes and personal things strewn out all over the place.  Ed had sold all the furniture and electronics and I helped our old landlord get rid of things. 

In my nightmare, the house was clean, but not much like it was when we lived there.  It had a beautiful china cabinet in the dining room full of antique glass, a bar, some furniture and some alcohol.  That’s kind of what was funny, there was dark beer (Ed drank MGD Lite) and a bottle of rum or whiskey on the floor in the living room (Ed drank tequilla).  I remember being shocked that there was anything just sitting out, since he was maintaining his sobriety in public there would have never been anything like that.  The other thing that was odd is that my son was a little boy again, probably about the age he was when we left.  He had anxiety about going back the same way I did.  I called my friend Susan and she sent her husband to pick me up.  While we waited Ed and I fought about his time with my son, how he hadn’t been an active part of his life and had walked away, just like he did from his own kids.  Then we got into a fist fight (I confess, it always feels AMAZING to punch him in my dreams) and then Susan’s husband arrived to take us away from all that.  Oddly he was in an old white and blue Rambler and on the drive home he said that Ed seemed like a nice guy and I broke down bawling and then woke up.

I still feel odd about the dream this morning!  Somewhat angry, somewhat frightened.  Weird that my brain can go back to those emotions after all these years.  I know that I am safe now.  And loved.  That Ed isn’t a nice guy and that I don’t have to deal with him ever again!

Why I Avoid Valentine’s

February 14, 2014

Ed and I were married the day after Valentine’s.  If we were still together this would be our 17th wedding anniversary.  For those who are interested – the gifts for the 17th wedding anniversary are shells or furniture.  That seems like SUCH a long time.  We split up for a while after 3 years of marriage, but I was afraid and in pain, and in a terrible place in my life so I went back.  After 5 years of marriage I knew it was over but the divorce waited until the 11th year. 

Because of our anniversary and that painful, destructive, emotional time in my life it is almost as though I shut down during Valentine’s.  I don’t really want to celebrate.  The “romantic” part is absent because so many of those years were spent in fear or frustration. 

This definitely isn’t fair to my husband, but I seem unable to pull away from that part of my life.  I keep thinking each year that I will want to celebrate.  I know that I’m safe, that I’m loved, that I have a support system, but those old days still sit in the back of my mind.  While I feel that I have moved forward and am able to enjoy life, that abused girl still lives in my soul, reminding me of the mistakes of my past.

Brunch in the Cities

February 13, 2014

Sunday morning my husband and I went to brunch at Jax in Minneapolis.  He proposed to me in the same place five years ago, after bawling my eyes out, I accepted the most gorgeous diamond I have ever seen. 

Sunday morning we sat next to two women discussing what makes you an alcoholic.  One had a black out two nights before after combining Jagermeister with Benadryl.  Her husband found her passed out at her desk and the next morning she awoke with a black eye.  She readily confessed that she does a shot every night to help her sleep and said that she doesn’t feel like an alcoholic and doesn’t drink socially.  Her friend said that during the two years that she was an alcoholic she didn’t always drink socially but often had problems with binge drinking.

The first woman talked about her  father (an alcoholic), her ex-husband (an alcoholic), her sister (an alcoholic) and their dependency.  While she was convinced that couldn’t sleep without the booze at night, she wasn’t convinced that she was an addict the way that they were.  It was interesting to hear this and to think about what I learned about alcoholism when I was married to Ed.  The mantra from most 12 step programs is that you are always an addict or alcoholic, it doesn’t go away, it can be dependent on whether you are “practicing”.  In addition to this, I always felt like if you were having problems in your life related to your substance use/abuse that it fell into the same pot.  I’m not sure how others define it, and since I don’t live in that world anymore I’m not sure how much it matters….

Fatal Addiction

February 4, 2014

Phillip Seymour Hoffman died this week.  An article this morning explains that the brain is re-programmed by addiction so severely that even after YEARS in recovery, the addict can return to similar levels of use almost immediately.  Scary.  Terrifying.  Sad. 

Addiction is a sad and terrible disease.  I didn’t always love Hoffman’s acting.  He threw himself into roles and I will admit his portrayal of people was sometimes frightening to me.  I was supremely creeped out by his character in Boogie Nights, but loved him in Twister. 

Today I feel sad for the loss of a talented man, a loving father and an addict, who got high one last time.