Monday, May 26, 2008

Defragging

The notion of a hard drive defragging is so the perfect metaphor for what's going on in my brain, that despite what I said earlier about not explaining it cuz it was boring, I now feel I must explain it to people who don't know.

But since somebody explained it better than I could, read first about how hard disks actually work here (seriously, it's worth knowing... at the very least you'll begin to understand why those emails that scream "THIS VIRUS WILL ERASE SECTOR ZERO ON YOUR COMPUTER!!!"are a hoax), and then read about defragging, here.

All this to tell you that I can't yet give you the whole story of TF in sequential order. I think it would take too much time. If you read my blog you've already learned about how I got knocked up and decided to keep the baby. TF and I always had issues; for the 1.5 to two years prior to my pregnancy, we had a seriously tumultuous relationship. I always had a lot of empathy for him; it became apparent early on that something was wrong with him. But I always knew that it was something physical. Things would be great and then something (usually little and stupid) would happen, and he would just go "off". The best thing I can compare it to is a tantruming 3 year old. The kind of tantrum where they scream because they want something, you misunderstand them, you give it to them but by that time they're so worked up that they scream that they don't want it. So you put it away, whatever it is, and they scream some more. Finally you get frustrated and just walk away cuz what else can you do? Or hold them tight until they pass out from exhaustion. But you sense the frustration and feel incredibly helpless and sorry for them. The problem with TF was that he's a good deal bigger than me and a tantruming 30-something year old, 180 lb 5'11 man is a tad bit scarier than a tantruming boy.

I learned that TF's own dad was extremely abusive to his daughters... one day he beat one of them outside her school for kissing an American boy. She was a teenager. They claimed (TF and his sister) that he himself was never beaten, except for one time where he was kicked in the head because he was shy and wouldn't speak up in Sunday school. By TF's own account, he was a fat, bighaired-bigheaded Albanian kid in a predominantly Irish neighborhood... and that must of been tough. (I can hear Shoefly in my head whipping out the tiny violins.)

None of that is an excuse... and it took me a loooooong time to stop letting my empathy cloud my dealings with him. And by the time that happened, the Sun had come along and the relationship took on a darker tone. I was busy working, trying to keep the peace, being empathetic, and before I realized it I was in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Emotional abuse is a weird thing. I've been in a physically abusive relationship. Granted... not the worst ever, and I got out quickly. But emotional abuse can sneak up on you, and what's worse is that there are no outward scars... no black-and-blue marks, no black eyes, no bruises, no outward signs. TF can rightly claim he never punched me or hit me... there was of course the Incident of the Broken Door, and the time I thought he was going to hit me so I jumped on him first, or the time or two he spit in my face and once he backed me up against a wall and threatened to kill me, but generally what went on was much more subdued. But no less scary. And he wouldn't go away. If I broke up with him, he'd come back. And yes, I always let him back. At first because he did such a good job apologizing, but later on because of the baby. The thing that began to tip me over the edge though, was watching him begin to do emotional shit to the Sun.

That, I vowed, would never happen on my watch, and so I actively began to pull away, but the more I pulled away, the more he circled me, and the more I fought the more threatening he became and then I began to fear him. But nobody understood why I was afraid. He never hit me. I didn't even understand why I was afraid... he'd never hit me. But the few times he'd done something physical were so "out of the blue", so random that I never knew what was coming. But worse, I couldn't get rid of him.

And I don't want to hear the bullshit about "Huh, if that was me, I'da..." cuz I've said those very words myself. In a million years I would never have imagined myself in the situation I was in, me in particular, with all my narcissistic tendencies and attitude problems and dislike of authority figures. But I think it was precisely those traits that got me into trouble with TF... because I had those traits, and knew I did, I tended to overcompensate. To try harder to understand him. "You're such a bitch!" people have told me laughing. "You don't care WHAT people think of you!" "You're so self-contained"... and they say those things with admiration, but when someone turns that on you... someone you love, and adds on the tag "...and you're not listening to my needs" or "....that you're selfish" or "...and you're inconsiderate" or something like that, you begin to wonder. Am I really that much of a bitch that I'm hurting someone I love? Am I really so caught up in myself that I've hurt this person? And next thing you know, you're caught.

It's really very easy. Particularly if underneath your "bitchy" facade you care very deeply. Add to that the concept that "strong" women are routinely labeled "bitchy", or worse.

So it's easier to get caught than you think. And as for trying to get rid of him, I tried it all. Yeah change the locks. One morning I did. It was the night he kicked in the door. I filed a police report and early the next morning a locksmith came and put a new lock on the downstairs door. It was mortifying... I had to explain to my neighbor why, and explain what happened to my door. TF paid a friend to come fix the damage, and all the guy did was look at me and shake his head. We were actually two weeks into an eight-week family mediation when the incident happened. After that, we alternated the next six weeks of negotiations. During that time he committed himself to a local mental hospital and got on Zoloft. He became a completely different person.

At the end of the 8 weeks, with a decent agreement and a calmer, more rational TF, and the fact that he was in fact, my child's father and I did love him, when he convinced me to try one more time, I did. It was the Zoloft that gave me hope. But I didn't give him the new key.

A few months later, over the summer, I discovered that the locksmith had ripped me off... the lock I paid for was not top of the line like the locksmith had promised, and it began to literally fall apart and keys get stuck in the door. I still had the old lock... and TF still had the old key. I couldn't afford a new lock, so with great glee TF replaced the new lock with the old. I felt so beaten.

Eventually, things fell apart completely, and the day he told me he was done and was breaking up with me because I was selfish, and it was the "same old same old" I jumped at the chance. "I completely agree, " I said, trying to use reverse psychology, "I'm no good for you. You deserve much better." When he tried to come back a few weeks later, I reminded him how fucked up I was and that I'd never change.

But then he started trying to bully me into giving him time with the Sun... which wasn't a problem unless it was me that had a need... he wouldn't bring him back on time, or not pick him up when he said he would. None of this had anything to do with the Sun, and everything to do with fucking up my day.

And I know this to be true, cuz... visitation notwithstanding, he pulled the same shit today. So now, 6 years, 2 judges, 4 lawyers and 4 law guardians later, I'm right back where I started from... but that's another story.

I think this segment has gone on long enough....

1 comment:

Jacqueline said...

I was afraid of this conclusion. that it feels as if you are right back where you started. how did he pull the same crap today? have you heard from the Sun at all? Afterall, the Sun can call and/or receive calls from TF when he is not with you.... Does that not work in reverse? what are the terms that the judge signed and what did the [freakin'] judge conclude regarding holidays?