Tuesday, November 9, 2010

When I think you are in love with another

November 9, 1987

When I think you are in love with another,
I must continually go to the bathroom, my bowels turning to rid myself of this disgrace.
I clean the little things in my life.
Scrubbing with Mr. Clean the motif "Crown" on the stove until the years of grease embedded in its intricacies are removed, along with the paint.
The bed moves too much, threatening to collapse on my little ones.
I tie it up with hooks sunk deep into the window frame.
Using clothesline, I think "This was once used to hang your diapers to dry when you were much younger."

You come home, still smelling of incense.
I only have harsh words for you.


I have stared at this page for weeks. Every day glancing at my journal sitting to the left of my computer. I pick it up. I open it to the marked page and remember. I close the cover with a shudder. The pain I feel at reading my words is deep and invisible, my heart pounds as adrenalin is secreted into my body. So here it is November 9th, twenty-three years later. I will face the pain.

Cris was a cruel man. How could a man with three children and a wife at home continue to seek out and pursue new, younger women - bring them home while I was at school to play with my preschool aged children? How heartless. The man is an emotional vampire, a sociopath. 

This prose may not seem all that dramatic to you, after all the other much more obviously painful posts. Yet, the pain is for me is as fresh as the day I wrote the words. This is the raw scab that Cris kept ripping open. That I allowed him to salt and watch fester. It is a description of the way I experience emotions. Body feelings. I never knew I had such a limited emotional vocabulary. Alexithemia is what it is called - to not be able to identify feelings with words. So I describe the sensations.

I express my years of nausea as "needing to go to the bathroom". Two years of constant stress were taking their toll on me. I felt fear all the time.

After reading a self-help book about relationships, I told him that I was setting him free - that I could not force him to love me. He took it as freedom to continue his romances more vigorously. I had thought that it would give him pause - make him think about his children, about me - just what he was giving up. I think a lot about it now. How my underdeveloped Theory of Mind could trick me into believing that people would react to my words the way that I would react. I had no way of predicting the behavior of others. People were such a mystery to me.

My children, now adults, attended Cris' birthday party last January. He threw the party for himself. He invited only young women - most younger than his children. My children described his behavior surrounded by the young, squealing girls. They played a suggestive word game - the girls giggling and carrying on. Cris' girlfriend sat in another room, drinking herself into a stupor. The children choose to leave when one of the girls suggested they play dress up downstairs in Cris' makeshift studio. It makes me physically ill to imagine it. 

I feel sympathy for his current girlfriend - whom he refers to as his "wife". She is just like me. All his girlfriends end up like me. Empty inside. He is an emotional vampire. I was his first victim. I wonder when she will find the power to escape him. I wish her well.

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