I write this from the makeshift-and-surprisingly-homey home office of my spirit-brother – yes, the very same one who broke my heart nearly 8 months ago, only to level up with me once I’d put said heart back together again, and then go one (or more) step(s) further yet and come through for me when I needed it most, proving himself thus far to be a true spirit sibling. ❤
Because a rare gem can change, at least to an extent. It’s extremely rare for sure, so I wouldn’t necessarily advise expecting it or pining for it or dreaming of it or waiting for it, because the odds are that tiny that it will ever happen, dear ones. And I know, the story isn’t over. It never is. Time will tell. It always does.
All any of us has is The Now, and so all any of us can do with that is seize it, take it and run, make the most of it. Recognize the opportunities, entertain the possibilities, calculate the risks. Whether the context is that of a relationship (the formation or preservation thereof, or even escape therefrom), a job opportunity, a travel journey, an academic program…you get the idea. There are always opportunities and there are always risks. We make choices, and each decision comes at the expense of all others, since we can’t (yet) clone ourselves.
This room proves encouraging and favorable for reflection and contemplation, something I know I haven’t done nearly enough. Yet I can feel the cognitive engine priming, turning the ignition, the sparkplugs and pistons catching, and suddenly, shifting into gear just might become possible.
This is (part of?) what happens when you begin to break–or even drift–away from the dark, damp, flat, grimy, hopeless, creepy blanket of fog that comes with living with a pathological narcissist/psychopath. I never did lose myself, per se, not in the sense that (unfortunately) so many do. I’ve always been in touch with at least the lion’s share of who I am and what I like and want, and I’ve always had a fairly firm grip on events or conversations that happened. I’ve always been one to collect evidence (when I could get my hands on it, that is).
But how much of my reality had been distorted through the years? The Psychopath had attempted to erase me, and had failed, for I had been fairly adept at asserting myself, maintaining my presence, keeping myself installed in my home, voicing a say in my life. If I pushed for or against something hard enough, I usually won.
But pushing is hard and tiring, dear ones. Especially when you have to do it constantly. They never do learn that you do matter, because you don’t, to them. They never have–and will never–perceive you as a separate human being with independent thoughts, characteristics, and goals, and an equal right to have them. Over the years, we become exhausted, faced with a battle between exerting energy to assert yourself and saving that energy by simply giving in, a battle that never ends. You’re locked in it until you stop playing, and you can only stop (without full forfeiture) if you leave.
For the past 8 years, I’ve wanted to do exactly that – leave. I’m not exactly sure when, but I remember one day, sitting under a tree (trees are excellent for encouraging inspiration and intuition), it suddenly dawned on me that perhaps I would be better off alone than with him, and as scary and alien a thought as it was, a visual popped into my head just then, one of me in my own independent dwelling, with sole dominion over my own space and my own resources and my own belongings organized in my own way. I could now begin to imagine a life without the fear and uncertainty that result from deception and manipulation and lies by omission.
It wasn’t possible until it was possible, and that’s how the story usually goes, dear ones. I’ve watched enough true crime documentaries to know that those leaving controlling relationships, especially when the control involved finances, can typically only do so when they have a place to go. I remember asking myself all those years why I didn’t just leave then and save myself the heartache. It’s important to refrain from acting on impulse, get your ducks in a row first. You can only do that when you carry out the scenario in your head, don’t just run with the first ideal that comes to you, you have to know how you’re going to get there.
And for the longest time, I would return to my original state, my tail tucked between my legs, the psychopath none the wiser, having been defeated once again, because the truth was plain: I had nowhere else to go.
He’d seen to that, of course. Perhaps he realized at some point that I might eventually leave him, and he cared about that, alright. Not because he cared about me as a person, but he cared very much about what I could provide for him that he needed. Subtly and stealthily, methodically and gradually, he removed my hands from the reins next to his, finger by finger, until he was the ultimate and sole rein-holder.
Over those years, I’m not sure what I sensed, but I sensed something. Something that had started out endearingly quirky-odd became almost menacingly odd-odd. The benign hostility at the world that often accompanies disability became malignant hostility. He seemed to gather an increasingly heavier sense of entitlement, even at the expense of those whose shoulders he stood on to get there. Hell, we even lifted him up in the first place, in multiple ways.
Writing from the same computer but in an entirely different space with an entirely different vibe offers clearer hindsight, tints the pictures with starker differences. I’ve been spending nearly all my time at my spirit-brother’s place (including sleeping on the couch at night) and hardly any at my own, save for the occasional packing of the last odds and ends and spending quality (if not much quantity) time with the kitty from my own household who is to come with me when all is finally said and done. I’ve even slipped and called my spirit-brother’s place “home”, several times.
And sometimes, the slip is intentional. Equal parts expression of what I truly feel, and also processing, adjusting, getting used to the idea. It’s not a hard idea to get used to. But as someone diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome/Autism Spectrum, even euphoric changes require more than their fair share of processing.
Since I’ve begun practically living here almost full-time, I’ve felt lighter. I wake up, and I just…wake up. No nightmares, no fear, no impending doom, no darkness, no wet blanket, no wondering, no real anxiety (despite my future livelihood being far from concrete, which is typically a trigger), no eagerness for anybody to wake up so that I can pepper them with frantic questions, financial and other, that have accumulated in my head for the past 5 hours until they emerge from slumber.
I just…wake up. It’s still early when I do, always before dawn, typically before 5am, long before the birds swarm the feeder. Sometimes I wake up in some physical pain, but that’s to be expected, it’s a way of life. But even the physical pain is less. I feel comfortable, secure, I know that I’m not going to get knifed in my sleep or stared at long and hard while I’m sleeping (#TrueStory) or spied on or monitored or my bank account drained or my belongings moved around. My quantity of sleep may be similar but the quality has leveled up something fierce.
The typical day at my spirit-brother’s place is a mixture of apartness and togetherness, He Does Him and I Do Me, and frequently, we parallel. He does his school work and meditations and I research and blog and organize and plan and set up and work on moving the divorce along. We run errands, together or separately. We usually eat together. We enjoy the same TV shows in the evenings. We’re still showing each other our favorite movies; I guess there’s quite a bit to plow through before that’s finished. We roll our eyes at the text conversations between my soon-to-be-ex and me. We laugh at the kitty who already lives here. Our coexistence has its bumps but generally it’s comfortable, feels natural, as though we really were siblings. There is no romantic relationship but there’s a deep bond nonetheless, and that’s probably exactly what we each need right now.
And slowly, I can feel that dark, damp, creepy fog lifting, slightly more each day, and I can look back slightly clearer each day. I can see the psychopath more for what he really is, the pathetic-ness of his life, the sick/bad-simplicity that comes with being half-animal, half-machine (they don’t think or feel, that’s why they always say “I don’t know”, and why their affect is always flat when they do). I can see that his life is not mine, that we’ve always been 2 lone wolves who had happened to walk parallel paths before, except that now, one path is diverging, splintering from the other.
The path splintering off is mine. I started this.
And it’s not finished yet, dear ones. The last chapter has not yet been written, not even the last chapter of the divorce itself. Nothing has changed on paper – not my name or my address, at least legally speaking. Yes, I have begun to receive mail at my spirit-brother’s place, and I’m using my maiden name in places and situations where it doesn’t legally count. But the dotted lines haven’t been signed and notarized yet, and it hasn’t even gone before the judges for their stamp just yet.
That will come soon enough. Well, maybe not quite soon enough, per se, but it’ll have to do.
I’m getting more of that taste of freedom and space now. With it comes clarity in the hindsight, a hindsight injected with steroids. I feel fresher, cleaner, more lively. And I imagine I will only continue along that path the further I get and the more distance I put between The Psychopath and me.
My main concerns at this time revolve around finances – income and credit, mostly. Once I establish those, I’ll be in a much better place yet. But I do believe that getting out from under that dark cloudy misty blanket is almost a prerequisite. It’s hard to put your best foot forward when you can barely move or see straight, proverbially speaking. The blanket will have to lift, the mist will have to burn off, the sky will have to clear, even if just a little. Not much, but a little. It’s nearly impossible to succeed as an individual when you’re in the thick of it.
Luckily, everything is temporary, if you give it enough time.
In the meantime, I’ll Keep Doing Me. New and Improved, Now With Less Dark(TM). 🙂 ❤