Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Limbo and Parachute Packs

RJ SHAUGHNESSY PHOTOGRAPHY
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Follow the story.
Read the previous entry here.



July 2011

Impossible things have happened!  

Impossible thing #1:   I can do emergency home repairs, alone.

One night I heard the horrific sounds of the bedroom fan ripping free from the ceiling clamp that held it's whirling blades a safe distance from my head.  It hung and spun from an electrical thread! Gyrating, threatening decapitation. In the most independent way, I woke up, ducking my head like I was under a helicopter and flipped the light off.

It may have cost me 2 hours and a few tears and swear words but I fixed it!  Myself!  I turned off the electric breakers, fixed the wire and re-attached the fan!  

The dog days of summer have begun, even the starry evenings are warm.   Seventy-four nights have come and gone since he left with his pack of never-ending lies.  At midnight I dive into the cool depths of our backyard pool.  A solitary skinny-dip under the cover of a blue-gray night.  Water washing me, the caress taking me to another lifetime where I thought I loved a man who knew every inch of my skin.  I hadn't always skinny-dipped alone.


Impossible thing #2:  I am officially in limbo and I'm happy here.

It's a state of uncertainty.  A place where decisions aren't made.  The biggest nagging question, "should I stay or should I go?"


A snap decision would find me running.  I'd pack the Subaru with essentials, top off the tank and tell my children an elaborately woven story of adventures to be had while driving east, the sun shrinking as it settles down for sleep.   Driving all night, all day, all night and all day again before slowing for a small town in Georgia or maybe North Carolina.  I'd rent the first little house with a yard and buy 2 milking goats.  I'd work at the local downtown hardware store (I know how to fix ceiling fans, afterall) and make goat cheese until I had an entire farm of goats and a underground cellar full of every flavored chèvre.   My children would grow up eating handmade cheese and wearing handmade pants.  

Divorce seems eminent.  I mean, really, what kind of woman stays with a man like that?  A sex addict.  A sex addict?!  The very words reek of hopelessness.  Fatal.  Futile, like an eternally lost sub-class of homosapien.


He's broken every marital vow.  Told every lie.  No wonder his eyes never meet mine.  A man splintered by his own personal hatred.  I would hate myself too if I had been where he has been.


Limbo has become an opportunity.   In a place of not knowing what to do, I can prepare for the worst.  I use his money, live in our house, love of our kids, let him mow the lawn when he asks and encourage him to visit our children.  All this time, I'm preparing my parachute pack.  My emergency rip-cord.  I love the happiness and freedom I find from being prepared.

Impossible thing #3: Bill is on our side.

Bill believes we can repair our marriage.  Bill sees redeeming qualities in Mr. Scabs and sees the depth of forgiveness in myself.  Bill is a cool, older hippy guy with grey hair and glasses.  Bill kinda looks like this guy from M*A*S*H.  Bill is our shrink.

Walking into the waiting room of Bill's office is like being sucked into a time warp circa 1976.  Macrame brown and orange beaded plant holders cradle a handful of poorly kept house plants.  On the wall hangs a brown, orange and mustard colored yarn art which forms the head of a sleeping lion.  The office smells slightly of burnt coffee, not in a bad way, just in an endearing forgetful professor way.  

Papers, books and board games are piled in every corner of his office.  It's a disaster.  His collection of board games has things like Scategories, Uno and Candyland.  I wonder why our sessions never include a rousing game of Monopoly?  

We talk a lot about lying and sex.  Bill wants to see Mr. Scabs tell the truth and make hard changes.  He teaches me that I will be ok no matter what and I believe him.  There is one thing, I'm not sure I believe; sex addiction isn't about sex.  In that wandering moment where two strangers bodies collide it is undeniably sexual.

Bill's button up shirts are always halfway tucked and he wears birkinstocks with black socks.  A sign of genius.  It's not unusual for Bill to take off his shoes mid-session and assume a meditating yoga-like posture with his palms facing up on his knees.  After we've told our stories and made our demands, he'll ruminate, closing his eyes and breathing as if as if asking the universe what to do with us.  

Bill's so weird and quirky but it's his weirdness I trust.  I like weird people.  He's genuine and we often laugh through our sessions.  Mr. Scabs is charming and fun but also so lost.   

Bill helps me set boundaries.  We make an infidelity contract, clearly outlinning what is cause for future marital disintegration.  The contract is sealed with palm-spit and a handshake.  

Honestly, I feel myself moving toward divorce despite the contract.  He hasn't been able to tell the truth and is still telling me new lies.  He thinks I'm clairvoyant as I have an uncanny way of seeing his lies.  

Bill teaches me how to pack my parachute.  And, in the case of an ememrgency he prepares me to pull the rip cord.  Preparing for the worst, I begin researching divorce laws, squirreling away all my money, investing time in my part-time job, knowing soon it may be my only support.   

I even, practice making cheese.  





39 comments:

  1. Although I don't know what it feels like to be betrayed like THAT, (my experience with the addiction was being compared sexually to others and porn during the week, and then him seeking out other women) I can tell you that I feel your pain in not knowing for sure if someone can actually change.

    (((hugs))) to you. I'm rooting for YOU.

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    1. I don't know but I think betrayed is betrayed. No matter what the circumstances. what do you think? And it stinks cause there really are no guarantees.

      thanks for the root!

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  2. Sometimes I get halfway through your posts and forget that I'm reading about 2011 and then relief washes over me, not because I think everything is all better now, just because I know it's at least a LITTLE better now. Right? Is that a spoiler? You can delete this comment if you need to...

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    1. oh yeah, summer 2012 is a world of difference from summer 2011. No worries about the spoiler!

      Delete
  3. "Macrame brown and orange beaded plant holders "

    Dudette, I'm old enough that I MADE one of those holders at school back in the day. I could almost smell Bill's office by your description!

    Your post reminds me of Jacy's post: http://www.mynameisjacy.com/2012/06/pioneer-woman.html

    I was talking with a friend who is going through some hard marriage times, and one of the things she talked about is how, in essence, recovery means being ok with limbo. Of course, staying in that place is hard and recovery also means that it's easy to slip out of that 'feeling ok' place, but it's that 'letting go' and letting God guide you based on *today* rather than putting yourself in a corner where you feel like you HAVE to stay. To know that you always have a choice is ultimately freeing, even if a bit unnerving. Because then if you do choose, you know it's because YOU choose it and not because it's somehow forced upon you by some Force of the Universe or some Expectation from ____________ that you Should Stay Married No Matter What (or that you are Crazy for staying married to a sex addict.

    I'm no advocate for divorce, but I LOVE watching women own and feel the power and freedom of agency and recognize that they can CHOOSE what they want (what they can control)...and then own that choice and work through the consequences (because all choices have them), whatever the choice may be. Because sometimes the right choice will be to stay, and sometimes it will be to go, and sometimes it will be to wait and see what happens. But the right choice is always to let go of thinking there is One Right Choice.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. isn't the power of our brains and the perspective we choose amazing! I really love that my brain in controlling all the movements and actions i take. I love that i can think and make decisions and that i have the Man Upstairs on speed-dial for any thing i might need

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  4. Have I told you how much I love your writing, Scabs?! 'Cause I so do.

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    1. wow thanks! sometimes i feel so disjointed...but so glad you "get me"

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  5. Our first counselor didn't know anything about SA but he was well versed in infidelity and he offered advice that I took to heart, "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." It made sense to me and he helped Devin understand how much the betrayals hurt and how much I needed him to understand the trauma he caused. Then when we got to the point where he was no longer able to help us, we found a CSAT for Devin and I found a counselor who works in his office.

    I also knew I would be able to walk at any moment but that I was choosing not to leave and that was important for me for some reason. It still is now. Knowing that I'm staying for ME and not him. Like you, I prepare just in case...

    And that Boundary Agreement is a powerful thing! (Don't think I'm crazy but I hadn't planned on it but I felt a gut feeling to do a post on it yesterday - so strong I interrupted an ongoing post. Crazy right LOL)

    You are one strong chickie and write so well!

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    1. Our first therapist didn't know anything either...she led me to believe it was my fault. and that was back when mr scabs was less candid about his secret life. I think we went to 7 sessions and then dropped her. I knew I wanted a therapist to back me up, and i always felt like I was working my ass off trying to get anywhere with her.

      Bill was fantastic.

      I'll have to skip over and read your agreement post. You know i like the way you think!

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    2. Funny how we seem to find counselors who are clueless in the beginning. I"m so grateful we have a great counselor now!

      Hope you liked the BA post.

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  6. I love you. your writing speaks volumes. Miss your brightness and warmth. xoxoxo

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    1. Ahhh! i was just thinking of emailing you cause i've been wondering about you. Thanks for the compliment my darling Nora. You know how wonderful i think you are.

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  7. Oh my heck, woman. You just helped me realize that I am slowly getting to a place where I too am okay with limbo. I would love to figure out & outline & present to my husband what constitutes me staying in this marriage or not but honestly I have no clue. I am finally getting comfortable - slowly - with the idea & actually making boundaries. I wish I had some help packing my parachute & some encouragement on preparing to pull that rip-cord if necessary. I have only one party there & they are not impartial. I may need to pick your brain sweet lady. Though I have to say - I am nowhere near impossible #1 though. :) Maybe that will come as I pack my parachute.

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    1. Ok yeah! You are one of my favorites! seriously, you've made some major progress...awesome!!! I'll help you pack your parachute. Having it all ready to go gives such freedom. And it makes your boundaries real. And takes away the fear.

      It seems like you've grown so much in the last few weeks. When i read your comments on blogs and on the forum, Im impressed.

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    2. April, are you trying to make me cry? I am just so grateful for all I am learning from you & Mr. Scabs. I really have great admiration for both of you.

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  8. This is SOLID. You are in control. You are safe. You are going to be OKAY.

    Love you.

    p.s. I don't have my phone... I left it in California... if you've text or called, I'm not avoiding you! I'll call you when I get it back ;)

    XO

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    1. Lol! That stinks about your phone...let's chat next week. Time is flying!!!

      You're right, this does feel solid and safe. I like those words.

      Delete
  9. What advice should I give my future daughter-in-law to be about sex addiction. My step-son has a porn addiction, has not addressed it with the proper help and his fiancee just found some inappropriate emails and Facebook messages with someone he has a strictly online relationship with. She is hurt and betrayed--as she should be. She still loves him but doesn't know if she should go into this eyes "wide-open". What advice would you give her?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Pause!

      I would advise her to put the breaks on. Post-pone the marriage. Remain a fiance until she is certain. She should not accept porn, inappropriate emails and Facebook messages on any level. Mr. Scabs knows how quickly those seemingly small things can escalate into terrible mistakes.

      This is a tough spot for both of you to be in. You obviously love both your son and future daughter. But, with my history, I would caution both you and her to use all the tools of recovery. These blogs, 12-step and other resources are invaluable. They have built me. Being married to an addict is PAINFUL!!! I would advise her to wait, don't tie the knot. If he hasn't addressed his addiction will only grow and consume him. Sad, I know.

      Mr Scabs didn't address his addiction right away when I knew something was wrong. And now, if you've read my story, you know where that lead. I would never wish what I've been through on anyone, even the worst of people. It is a hell. I would avoid it like the disease it is.

      She loves him, and that is where the complication lies. I know about love, I love a man who did terrible things. Love. sigh...If she loves him she will set boundaries and encourage him. She will not accept that behavior in her life, or marriage. You're family should talk openly, circle him. Learn all you can about the addiction attend therapy, 12-step. Work recovery. There's so much. Email me if you want. We can talk in more detail.

      sending love your way,
      scabs

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    2. Hope you don't mind if I chime in but I had too! I agree with Scabs 100% on this one!

      I went in knowing nothing... my eyes were painfully opened. Devastation doesn't describe the pain.

      If I knew then what I know now, life would be so very different. For me, I would advise not going into a marriage knowing that there is *any* sort of addiction. I just won't go there. It can be a very dangerous road... especially with sex-addiction because your very LIFE can be put in jeopardy. People may say "Oh, I'd never do that..." but I guarantee you that Mr. Scabs and my ex-husband never thought they would do it either.

      I would take this very seriously. Like Scabs said, use the proper tools, get him into therapy, and she may want to go too. Love does complicate all of this... I loved my husband SO much too but the minute he put my life/health at stake, my emotional security at stake, and my financial well-being at stake I knew it was time for to leave. I loved him when I left.

      Sending my love your way too. I admire you for reaching out an recognizing the problem. MANY people brush it under the rug, thinking that it's not that bad... when really... sex addiction is bad... it's scary road if left untreated and unaddressed.

      Sending my love to you too...

      Jacy

      thanks for letting me pipe in here Scabs. Hope it's ok :)

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    3. of course i don't mind! Maybe we can get mr scabs to chime in on this too.

      Delete
    4. I have no more better advice that Mrs scabs and jacy.

      Sounds like he doesn't even think he has a problem. Or that it's a problem. Or that any of it's important to him.

      Marriage is an investment. And investment of love and time. It sounds like she has more invested in him than he has in her. I would be cautious.

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    5. p.s. with the investment of marriage there has to be total honesty.

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    6. As someone who has been in your daughter-in-law's position, I recommend her waiting and re-evaluating her relationship with him. My fiance also flirted shamelessly with other women in front of me, would do the "double take" thing while I was standing right next to him if a pretty girl walked by, and was quick to encourage me to be sexually involved with him. I felt so devalued and depressed that I gained 15 pounds during our short relationship, when I previously had never been able to gain weight even when I tried. Let me tell you how the story ended for us: I stuck by him, because I reasoned that I had sins of my own so I couldn't judge him and he assured me he was getting help from the bishop. I went to a counseling group. We arranged our wedding. Two month before we were married, he cheated on me with his ex-girlfriend. Incredibly, he felt that he wasn't going to break off our relationship and somehow wanted to keep us both. I broke it off after a week (a week!!! SO LONG!) of agony and finding all her text messages and his lovey emails to her. I realized that I had been settling for something fake all along.

      Not that your step-son is a bad person or will do any of the things I mentioned above, but your possible daughter-in-law should understand that she may be walking straight into heartbreak. Luckily for me, our relationship ended, I lost the weight, lost my feelings of being unworthy of love, gained a new confidence, and a year and a half later married the best man I could've asked for (who, ironically, I had known since before I met the other guy).

      I know that not everyone's story has a happy ending, and some are choosing to work through it with a spouse. I have to say that I was glad everything came to light before we were married, because if it had happened after our marriage and perhaps after we had children, it would've been incredibly more complicated.

      All the best.

      Delete
  10. Thank you so much for your responses--all of you! I really am in a hard spot. I know a little (well, I think a lot--but not enough)about sex addiction as my own son has this issue but his wife set boundaries, he sought help and they are working through this issue with a lot of time, effor and PAIN!! They are in a good place and have been for quite a while. I am trying to get as much advice and help from as many reliable sources I can to give to my step-son and his fiance. He knows he has a problem but up to this point has thought he could do it on his own. I think he now knows he can't. Mrs. Scabs can you send me your email address? And thank you Jacy and Mr. Scabs. You are all brave and doing hard things!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your willingness to share.

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    1. Of course. Theres a link above with my email but if u can't find it...
      Eatmyscab@gmail.com

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  11. Can I just tell you how much I love when comment forums become real conversations about real important things that there are few other places to have such conversations -- um, yeah, that is all, just wanted to say I love it.

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  12. That felt like you "get me." I've been in this limbo for a while now. Some days I'm chomping atthe bit for more and others I'm enjoying the freedom of being with my kids, doing some things for me, all while living in the house and not having to be working to pay for it. Nice job on the fan. :) That's one thing I've been proud of myself for, some of the home maintenance, realizing I can do it and even having husband sometimes see that it got done and that I did it! Thanks for the reminder that I'm making myself stronger even in this state of limbo. I know it's coming to a head and decisions will be made before long but I truly am grateful for this time to better myself. And I have a wonderful therapist too, though not so quirky as yours. ;)

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    1. And last summer when I was in limbo it was hard to see that it was good for me. But now in retrospect, limbo was a necessary place to be before I made some hard decisions. Gotta love limbo!

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  13. Mrs. Scabs, you amaze me! I just shake my head and marvel at you after reading nearly every post you write. Your writing keeps getting better too! I think it's safe to say that this hell you have gone through and still are going through has uncovered a new Mrs. Scabs - a more real, more sure, and stronger you. It's like your authentic self has been chipped free of the stone it was stuck in. It is really inspiring. Summer 2011 - oh my goodness. Stu has said from the get-go, 2012 is going to be amazing. I hope it is for you too.

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    1. lindsay, you make me cry every time you comment! You are the one that really knows everything going on. you see me and my children and mr scabs in our real life. Our life before and after all this stuff. Thank you so much for being here. Your support means so much.

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  14. Whew! I didn't realize this was June 2011 until I read Jane's comment. You are so strong, Scabs. I honestly don't know how you do it. I am drowning, and I feel like I'm in a freaking kiddie pool compared to you. I admire that you keep moving forward, against every single opposing force. It's incredible! And now you are in an exponentially better place than one year ago.

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    1. 2011 was terrible! You aren't drowning, I happen to know you've got this in the bag. You situation has the cruel component of abandonment and a million unanswered questions. Remember Don and Fawn? you've dodged a bullet!

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  15. If it was your daughter facing this situation with her fiance and not your daughter in law with your step son what would you do?

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  16. At the cost of sounding very blunt is this talk of limbo and parachute what we women adopt when we are unable to leave our SAs but at the same time it doesnt lower our self respect and self esteem?

    I too spent 18 months with my SA after i found out about his hookers etc. thinking that of course i can and will leave when i want to.Of course , i later realised that i was unable to leave .was enmeshed in his sorry life but consoled myself by thinking that i can make a choice anytime i want to.

    He of course re-established communication with hookers,but this time the shock , outrage and the pain i felt was nowhere near what i felt the first time.That made me wonder if being around the SA sort of deadens your senses and makes you kind of more accepting?

    I realised that was so and also felt that with every transgression i may not feel as outraged since constant exposure to their world of hookers and promiscuity does kind of gradually diminish the "UGH" factor.

    I therefore decided to leave before i became,sort of, more accepting.

    In my case , i realised that by being in limbo i was just unwilling to face reality and make some harsh decisions.

    I also knew that my SA was sincere about recovery but i also realised that neurologically the brain pathways have been altered so much that what one would get are only periods of sobriety.

    I also knew that he never had any intention to wilfully hurt me and ,in his own way, he loved me.In their books love and fidelity are two different things.

    I bear no anger towards him.

    I just know one thing that i dont want to be a part of the world where, though the recovery is his own,nonetheless sexual addiction is something that becomes a part of my life, not as in terms of his acting out but his recovery.

    I just think that i deserve better.

    I so admire the women here who have the strength and fortitude to be with their partners.

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    1. Go ahead, sound as blunt as you like. I don't mind. I appreciate something that is real.

      I guess that is my limbo. When I was first hit with his infidelity, it came from out of the blue. I wasn't prepared and had no way of taking care of myself and kids. I could barely breath much less sort out what was happening. You're right I wasnt prepared to make harsh decisions. So I used him. I took from him and i prepared my self mentally, physically, economically etc.

      Now, I feel like you did, I believe I can and will leave if there ever was another indiscretion with another woman in the physical or cyber.

      Maybe in 18 months i will look back and with the same eyes you now have. There are no guarantees. But today, I am willing to put myself in that position. For now, our family is doing well.

      I've had my limbo, my place of waiting safely and observing all that he does or doesn't do. I also have a few secret weapons in my pocket. Things I haven't discussed and wont on this blog---if you are a woman who wants to know what im talking about email me. I will gladly share.

      So, in my limbo i feel happy, i am preparing for either outcome. I have set my boundaries and am prepared to pull the rip cord. Part of that rip cord is not becoming accepting of any sa activity. I will not blindly trust. In fact, i do not trust him at all. He hasn't earned that.

      You're right. We all deserve better. And I am vigilant to the day I become apathetic to any sa or addict behavior. I am raising a daughter and will teach her strength, Independence, love and worth. This sa business effects us all.

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