Red Flags in the Rear View

I “processed” but didn’t publish Hard Day when I wrote it, but after events of the previous weekend, my first impression of Jax’s wife is relevant now. I was unimpressed with machinations meant to tell me me who’s “got him now.” (Honey, this ex don’t care.) It wasn’t easy, but have at it. I honestly wished them well. I felt empathy and compassion for her, and I loved Jax once. I wanted him to be happy with a nice girl.

My co-worker had warned me to be mentally prepared: This new girl might want me out of the way sooner than Jax promised.

“Oh, he wouldn’t do that.” I answered.

I did pause, though, considered it, and thanked her. Sadly, my co-worker was right.

Jax is the author of his own behavior, but, boy, did I get a taste of his wife! I know exactly who’s fueling this push out the door. That woman scares me! Disingenuous, manipulative, gratuitous. I don’t care, so far as she doesn’t factor into my my life after Oct. 1, but she has affected me greatly, and continues to do so now.

Those people terrorized me. Carrie is just getting what she wants how she always has. Once I’m no longer in the way of what she wants, she disappears for me. That doesn’t mean she didn’t scare me, scar me, even, but it will all be over soon.

As for Jax, he mattered and won’t go away so quickly. I’m surprised at the depth of his cruelty. There’s a place in him that feels like he has rights that he has not. I’m really trying not posit myself above him, but dear god!

I got dirty in that relationship, and I’ve learned enough to know, “There but for the grace of god go I.” We are each capable of anything. All of it. There but for the grace of god…

That said, I am seeing the red flags in his history. They seemed innocuous. They belonged to youth and arrogance, and Lord knows I’m about the most vainglorious person I know. It’s one of my primary life works, to balance the pull of superior/inferiority of an unhealthy ego. Certainly, too, my youth is nothing but error. That’s youth!

But in the part of our relationship where we regaled one another with the adventures and follies of coming up in the world, there’s one story, in particular, that didn’t sit right with me. (There’s another that involves company theft that went far beyond the “crimes” we all commit of stealing time or office supplies, but I chalked it up to getting caught up in group foolishness and youthful self-importance. Now it serves to remind me to be impeccable with my character.)

Jax didn’t like his friend’s girlfriend. One day like any other, the group was hanging out, and she was reading. Jax asked about her book. After she talked about it a bit, he asked to look at it and she told him to be careful with it. (I should have paid close attention to what he did, because I would ask that. She was probably a Taurus.)

And because she gave him orders, he took the book and ripped it in half.

I took issue at the time, and more than once in our ugly departure shamed him for it, but I should have listened then to what he was telling me. He bragged again in Florida when we were in line somewhere with his brother, who also found it unsettling and said so. Never once did Jax express chagrin. With me, he defended it. With his brother, he allowed the difference of opinion.

And what was his defense? I hadn’t heard the way she talked to him, he said. It wasn’t because the book was brand new, or even important. It was just to tell him what’s what, bossing him around, because she was in charge of everyone and everything.

“You don’t get to impose intentions on her boundaries. It mattered to her.”

“Nope,” he insisted. “She was a bitch.”

“Even so, it was her property!”

“You weren’t there,” was all he had to say about it.

How dare she assert herself? was the attitude. Woman, know your place. More importantly, it was his right to put her there.

Christie! It was always there!

In fact! Our first fight! Like me, Jax has a very powerful voice, and we both yell. I’m comfortable with that, honestly. I don’t want it. I want to learn together how to disagree better than that, but I hate it when I’m the yeller and my partner is just beaten down by my volume and veracity. Jax held his own. I needed that.

We did improve. We found ways to get heated, with raised voices but not yelling, necessarily, by our standards. There was progress in our relationship that made me feel like this was a partner who could not be bullied by me, but was amenable to taking responsibility – he did sometimes, when I pointed out misapplied blame – and strong enough to make me accountable when necessary. We were good for awhile.

Our first fight, however, was a shock to each of us, I think. Neither of us had met someone who could win just by being loudest. He matched energy, and fed it, too. We went fast from pissed to shocked to rage to fury.

Finally, his screaming shocked me silent, and I paused. “Whoa, Jax!” He continued. So did I. “Jax! Stop! Jax! We can reset! … JAX!”

I really thought we could. I had never been able to settle myself in that headspace. If I could, so could he. WE COULD. He didn’t stop screaming and finally out-shouted me. He’s the first perston to out-yell me! And now that he had, he was getting it said. I finally screamed at the top of my lungs, “STOP YELLING AT ME!”

His response? “You made me.”

“I’m not responsible for you!” I screamed. “I’m yelling because I’m yelling! I can’t make you yell! Fuck you!” I stormed off and slammed my bedroom the door.

(Blerg. “Fuck off” is NOT OKAY. I also called him an asshole all the time. I did try. On better days, I just called him a jerk. Sometimes I didn’t do any of my old behaviors! But I hate that I still haven’t figured out how to disagree with a boyfriend without disrespecting him. No, it’s the fights. It’s when I’m triggered. There’s something more I can apply there to HALT. Name-calling is a step up the ladder to abuse! It’s called dehumanizing, and I do not want to participate!)

That day, I called my best friend in a panic, “Oh my god, is he misogynist? Does he really think I made him do it? That’s what abusers say! Is he just a child? That’s bad enough! I am not responsible for you!!!” I was alarmed and ready to call it off.

I didn’t and still don’t think that’s what he meant, and he did later acknowledge that it wasn’t up to me how he behaves. I still believe him. We were speaking in anger. And we all blame. It’s what we do. God knows I do! Impassioned, we are all the child. Patterns and beliefs come up that aren’t true. We own our mistakes, move on, and work together.

I saw that in him, the working together. It is in him. Not with me, but he’s not one-dimensional. After this weekend, though, wow. I’m more humbled and alarmed the more reflection I give it. Especially now that the threat to my belongings and babies is lifted, and the couple is back to their normal not-coming-around. I can “relax,” and the underbelly is surfacing of a 5-day terror campaign that worked.

She deserved it.

Jax was privy to the pain of the trauma with my sister’s husband 6 years ago, and before that with my family, from childhood to this very moment. I talked about it from the beginning of our intimate relationship, when fears and sorrows and confessions come out. He was there when I went through the heartbreak of “losing” my father and brother, who echoed the sentiment, She deserved it.

He held me when I cried. He knew I was suicidal. I did go to the ER for 2 crisis visits.

Right now, it feels like he didn’t comfort me because he cared, but because he was stuck in a situation where he risked a girl getting sick and she did. I imagine the whole time he wished he could go to Carrie, but she was with her ex-boyfriend. I thought I had a friend who cared that our choice was so painfully costly for me, but now he just feels like a guy who was trapped and long gone in his heart. Now I wonder if he was resentful of me already. He was partly responsible, so… “Guess I’ll suffer the bitch.” ?

What he did this weekend was worst thing anyone’s ever done to me. I’ve been back on my meds for a month now. I’m still depressed, but I have been experiencing pleasure and progress on set and at work. I’m functioning and moving forward toward optimum.

That was all derailed last weekend. I was panicked. I thought I might have to check myself in. I avoided it all summer, no matter how overwhelming the pain became, but I was ready to quit the show. I felt I could never catch up, and the fear and guilt of making myself available to a show that I cannot emotionally or physically honor right now swallowed me up. But quitting meant quitting. And my cats! Don’t get me started.

I was scared.

And that’s not looking underneath! How does one even begin? My whole life has been a sham, a joke. I’ve been so blind, careless, STUPID. I’m too old to change this. I give up! I was curled in a ball in my closet, scream crying. My cats were so scared. I couldn’t handle their panicked faces and efforts to climb up and comfort me, so I hid in the closet and shut the door. I could see their little feet pacing, and it made me cry harder. Sometimes I apologized through the wailing, and I could hear their desperate mews.

And on it went. I was in danger this weekend. I felt brutalized.

He knew. He knew what his behavior could do to to me. He’s seen it. He’s held me, contained me, comforted me, and the whole time he just wanted to get away.

Fair enough. This shit ain’t easy. But he endangered me this weekend, with malice and purpose.Β And she deserved it.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Red Flags in the Rear View

  1. I’m going to offer a little tough talk now, because I think you’re ready for it. We could talk about the logic here and blame, but I’d rather hear about how your strength is taking root. How you refuse to be a victim any more, and how you are working on Self-care. This kind of drama…is intoxicatingly nasty. Turn away and re-center yourself. Work on yourself rather than denigrate the others. Everyone is responsible for themselves, even you. This kind of frenzied fear isn’t good for you and is feeding them. Somewhere, you know all this; you’re just caught in your own spin-cycle. Sending you calm and strong thoughts.

    • I appreciate that, Karel. While I wrote this, I anticipated that it would reside from the start in my Draft bin. There’s a lot in there. That’s my process, too. However, what I’m going through, for me, is the fight of my life. I’m watching carefully not to memorize and make this the script. It will be over soon, inasmuch as I’m gone from everything that looks and feels like him – and me with him – on Oct. 1st. Until then, I’m speaking my truth out loud. I am not quieting my truth for any reason, for anyone, ever again. Being honest and open about the abuse Jax and I generated together and both participated in is my truth. I suspect that I will send this whole episode, and everything I’ve written about it, to the Draft bin, eventually. I find it all humiliating and I want to delete it, just pluck it out of existence. But I can’t. It happened, and I need to understand why I’m here, again. I’m not successfully leaving my rough early beginnings behind me. I’m finding and creating it everywhere I go. For now, this stands as a talisman to where I am, now. I won’t be here for long. A big part of me doesn’t want to give voice to this ugliness, the frenzy and energy of spite and anger, but those are real things in the world. I’m in them these painful days. Not every minute. Right now, I’m packing to beautiful music and dancing. I’m fully, openly processing, and I feel like it’s the right thing for right now, this way. And I’m not apologizing anymore for calling out people who do hideous, damaging things. I’m not in danger of that being a “thing I do,” but this happened to me. I’m not stuffing it today. Thank you, Karel. I don’t disagree with you. But I’m keeping it for now. Also, I have a friend who’s not able to be in touch – a big, BIG life shift that takes all her time. She’s far away. Though the posts are troublesome and frightening, she sees me in there and knows I’m okay, and she’s thanked me for them. She knows I’d rather hide this from the world, but that being open about my illness and what I’m going through is right for me, it’s own kind of courage and healing. And, come on, you’re the only one who reads this. πŸ˜‰ I actually thought of you, and felt like it was not honoring the place that you’ve risen to, above the challenges of your own life. I will get up there. I’m getting! I hope you can trust that I’m not spiraling, and I absolutely do take responsibility for myself. That’s basically the whole blog, but in this post, too, I own my shit. Thank you for caring enough to say something. That was brave and decent of you.

      • Oh, the joke about you being my only reader? I do think there’s merit to not putting negative energy into a private bubble, even, and letting it hold space in the world. I go to Full Moon gatherings where we grow a community energy sphere and send it to join other Full Moon hippie bubbles. πŸ™‚ However, I also believe in giving voice to truth. Humanity is beautiful and ugly. Do I dull my beauty if I deny my demons? Might they have more power if I don’t put them in front of my face, stare them down, and ask, “WHAT”? I’m definitely mixed on the blog flurry this week, but … yeah, processing. Thanks again.

      • I am all for speaking your truth, i just wish you were in a better place. My husband has held my hand through much smaller versions of venting like you describe. They have helped me let go. I hope that’s what your blog does for you.

      • Thank you. I will be in a better place, very soon. Last weekend was a blurb on the screen, a big, bloody disruption, but an exception to steady improvement. I’m close. A very lucky thing happened, too, inasmuch I had been approved for a great apartment just the day before. If I had that anxiety on top of this, it would have toppled me. I’m doing… okay. Surprisingly okay. In spite of being not at all okay. πŸ™‚ Thank you for caring.

      • Keep that packing fury going! Just be sure you get plenty of sleep (sorry, I guess that’s the mommy side of me peeking out) and enjoy being Adelaide!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s