I am now the proud owner of two expensive air purifiers, $500 poorer but no longer nauseous. I’m certain now I’ve developed a sensitivity to second had smoke. That’s what changed over the summer – new people moved into the first floor apartment of the house, and they smoke. Now that it’s colder out, they are smoking indoors. Everything in my place smells faintly of cigarettes. I’ve never been allergic before, but was never continuously exposed before either.
The purifiers have big fans, and they roar on high. I wonder if in time I won’t hear it anymore. I won’t be able to live long term with the roaring, though it certainly beats nausea.
Feeling more balanced today.
I now feel good about how I handled the A situation in group. It’s a kind of calm, resolved feeling. It is so different from my fights with E last year. I feel like I expressed anger at a real situation where I was hurt and A was not. Kid parts didn’t get involved, so I didn’t exaggerate. Even if A didn’t respond in a way that meant much to me, I said my piece and I feel better.
I also feel that I can now let this incident go – it’s made it real, in one way, but also put it into the past for me. Yay. I’m not clinging to any kind of fantasy that secretly A did wish to be friends, maybe someday….No. In the past. If he should go back to saying how much he likes me, I’ll know it is his peculiarity, it doesn’t mean he wants any kind of relationship with me. It was sad to realize that, but it’s good to live with the truth of things.
Back to my session. This part is just sad.
E. I don’t want to talk about my marriage. It’s in the past.
I laugh a bit. Ron says nothing. OK, I know the past is his stock in trade.
E. J (my ex-husband) used the ‘too busy’ excuse constantly. He didn’t like to spend any time helping with the baby, or doing things together. I mean, when my son was in kindergarten, if he didn’t want to do something the teacher asked him to do, he’d tell her he was ‘too busy’.
E. Yeah. It was such and awful situation. Every day was just about survival.
R. You were afraid you would be killed?
E. No, of course not. J never physically harmed me. Though he did smash things all around me. I was afraid of him, because every few weeks, he’d have one of his blow-ups, and things would get smashed, and he’d scream a lot and throw his weight around. And….he’d do that to my son also.
R. What did you do then?
E. Sometimes I intervened. J would be very upset about that – said I was interfering with his parental authority.
R. And did you accept that?
E. Sometimes. Sometimes I just thought he was an asshole. There just wasn’t much I could do. My son….he started to hate me. He was close to his father, but he just saw me as weak and pathetic.
E. I mean, here I was, pregnant by accident, really struggling with depression, I had this baby to take care of, and they’re a lot of work, and….I didn’t really know that….what it would be like for people to really care for one another. We weren’t friends – more like business partners. No sex, and I would have liked it. It was awful. Horrible.
E. And he renovates. He has this old house, and he stripped the insides, and he’d always be working on it. I’d have no idea when the whole house would be shaking because he was using his table saw, or a wall was coming down – it was noisy all the time. And dirty. And it never finished – he’s still renovating to this day. With the PTSD, I can’t handle unpredictable noise and smashing. I go into this shut-down state. That was just triggered constantly.
R. And didn’t you have some say in what got done?
E. No. It wasn’t my business he felt. He’d bought the house before I moved in. It was his. Nothing ever really happened that I wanted – for instance, we never bought furniture.
R. And what did your family have to say about this?
E. Nothing. They wouldn’t. I tried to talk to my mother about it a few times, but she felt I was being disloyal, I should just ignore it. That’s what she’s done all her life.
E. So I feel like I missed my life. Maybe if I looked a different way, I could have found someone else.
R. You think if you looked different you wouldn’t have wound up with a bully?
E. No, that can happen to anyone, no matter how you look. I’d have maybe had a chance to find someone else. I could have left and found someone. Maybe. Anyway, we all have to work with what we’re given. But….sometimes I’m envious of the young people in your group. They have a chance. I never had a chance.
R. But you could change your relationship to your son, now.
E. I don’t think so. We’re not close. I send him money….I feel guilty, I should phone him up more. He’s difficult to talk to – he lectures me on modern art, and it makes me tired. My son….he took up all of J’s opinions. That other people are all assholes for instance.
R. Couldn’t you tell him your opinions on life?
E. He’s not interested. He decided early on that J was the boss, and he wanted to be like him. He just saw me as pathetic. He saw J treat me like I was pathetic, he saw my parents treat me that way, so he adopted the general view.
R. Have you been to visit him in X city?
E. No. I’m really not that functional. It’s difficult. I see him when he comes here to visit. He….I wish I’d been able to protect him more. He’s a little peculiar. According to J, who has been out to see him, he never talks to anyone, he doesn’t clean up so he lives surrounded by garbage….
E. I don’t know what to do about my son. I tried for many years to help him, to get help for him. Once I paid him to go to a therapist with me. He refused all that, he sees it as weakness.
R. We have to stop now.
I leave Ron’s office really fast. I feel kind of angry, that I was ‘forced’ to talk about this stuff, and upset to go over the details of my married life. And talk about my son, who from my perspective, is completely lost to me. I remember our connection when he was a baby, a pre-schooler, and this is just the worst pain, that he was taken from me by J. Not physically, but emotionally. It’s as if he died and I have no son.