The torrent came for me tonight, and brought with it the tears. To be clear, it takes a whole lot for this to happen. Emotions must be felt significantly to even become visible to me.
It’s the night-times that get you. They sneak up on you, too. During the day, there is more to think about, more to do, much else to focus on. Diversions and distractions are convenient emotional Novocaine, and being able to set aside the hardships of life is a strength that allows us to remain productive, but in the end, the equation must be balanced. Day is yang and night is yin, and while yin isn’t particularly bad, it definitely brings vulnerability, which carries risk. Without vulnerability, we cease to be human, but vulnerability itself opens us up to potential annihilation.
Tonight, the vulnerability swallowed me whole. An entire complex potpourri of Life Issues that swirl and twirl and all sorts of other mischievous things. It’s like Gas Laws, with their time, temperature, and pressure variables–which, the way I experience them, occur within me, building and bubbling, adding to the milieu, relentless and merciless, until…
…I’m in over my head. And I Have. To Talk. With Someone.
I’ll describe the picture.
The landscape consists of an ongoing divorce from a legitimate Factor 1 psychopath, the type who experiences a lower-than-average stress response, and therefore, nothing fazes or affects or impacts them, and they remain cool cucumbers through practically anything. In short, the scariest personality type imaginable, because they can (or may not) do heinous things to fellow human beings, without any remorse whatsoever, not even an elevated heartbeat.
That scenario comes bundled with the relinquishment of business interest (read: financial stability) and a kitty. By definition, once this divorce is finalized (and it isn’t yet (!)), I give up my half of the ownership of our currently-jointly-held business and demote myself to a mere independent contractor (if I’m lucky). I also had to decide which kitty I would take and which one I would leave behind with him.
This has been the case, weighing heavily (heavily!) on my mind, for the past 8.5 months.
Then there are the oscillations. “I’m contesting,” he says. Then, when asked again about going Contested, “probably not”, he says. He says a lot of things. Some are true. Many are not. The trick is figuring out which is which.
Then come all the “perks” of the package of being stuck, tethered financially and legally to him. The part that brings the nagging, the “please pay off this credit card because my credit score recently took a sh*t.” Even though I don’t even live with him or even have much to do with him anymore, save for a once-weekly office encounter.
A bleak enough landscape as it is for sure, but let’s throw in some accent pillows, shall we?
In May, I lost a kitty.
I also got turned down for a job that I’d been training for for 6 months and looked like a sure thing.
Two weeks ago yesterday, with 3 weeks’ notice of his stage 4 metastasized cancer, I lost my father.
The day before yesterday, I got declined for a credit card I’d been easily pre-approved for, because my side of the business had lost net income on paper. Understandable, yes, but the bank personnel had specifically mentioned that they were using gross income as the primary metric, not net income. It had appeared to have everything a done deal should have.
Need I mention that in my 40s, I’m literally starting from scratch. I have to figure out how to make an income that does not necessarily involve the current decade-long business, and when you’re in your 40s and fairly burned out (as happens to many survivors of narcissistic/psychopathic abuse), this is presents an especially serious challenge. I have no credit, because my credit score has been tethered to his, as well as his actions. I have nothing in my name, not even a joint account-holder status on the credit card or cell phone account.
No matter how far you think you’ve dug, dear ones, unfortunately, the rabbit hole can always go deeper. And deeper it has gone indeed. The pathological narcissist/psychopath is a “gift” that keeps on “giving”.
In situations like this, you know you’re in over your head. You know you need some professional help, but exactly what kind of help is most appropriate for your situation stubbornly remains a nebulous cloud, an unknown variable. What do I need? I don’t honestly know. A therapist? Probably not, since their primary role lies in figuring out what happened to you in the past and (rightfully) using it to explain what’s going on in your life right now and why. I’ve been in therapy most of my life and have picked up on certain themes and acquired certain skills; I’m able to deconstruct my life and determine exactly which thought, feeling, or action came from which event, yada yada.
Do I need a financial planner? A life coach? Probably the latter. The former would be helpful too, but I know I need a master gameplan that spans beyond finances alone. But there are plenty of life coaches out there, and resources are finite, so it’s important to make informed decisions right out of the gate. How many of them would really be able to grasp the gist of my situation and all of its nuances in a manner timely enough that it doesn’t break the bank?
I always ask good questions 😉
The heat of the crisis-moment doesn’t care much about convenience, so it’s possible that even a life coach couldn’t have helped me tonight. I had to turn to someone, but my options were limited. Thankfully, what I needed was fairly limited, too.
I turned to–and found some solace in–my spirit-brother. I feel bad; his eyes were drooping and I know the sandman was visiting hard and heavy, his wakeful hormones dropping off, giving way to sleep hormones a la the circadian rhythm.
But bless his heart and soul, he stayed up with me, let me talk things out, even mostly engaged with me as best he could. I poured out everything. I’d be lying if I said that my 2021 wasn’t a value-pack of sheer hell, spanning multiple areas of life. I’d be lying if I simply said that I was “okay”. I’d be lying if I denied needing a cocktail or two to finally fall asleep (for only 4-5 hours at best).
So I won’t lie. I won’t dwell much longer, but I won’t lie.
“It’s been rough” is the understatement of my decade or so.
I knew it would be, going in. Laugh if you like (I wouldn’t necessarily blame you), but looking ahead to the astrological events occurring, nasty forces thrust upon various aspects of my natal chart, I predicted this possibility more than two years ago. I remember telling friends “I’d be surprised if our marriage didn’t dissolve over the next 1-2 years”.
And damn if I wasn’t right.
I hate being right. It’s usually not good news, so I love it when I’m wrong.
But anyway, I poured my heart out to my spirit-brother/roommate tonight, and he nodded and agreed and held me patiently while the dam broke. And break I did.
But everything is temporary if you give it enough time.
Eventually the storm clouds began to clear. And I realized that while things have admittedly been pretty sh*tty, there are also bright spots.
Bright spots like being able to walk upright and move about at will, with all my accustomed faculties. Bright spots like being able to continue to do my job, and other jobs. Retaining your skill set, memory, and cognition (i.e. no traumatic brain injury). Bright spots like motivation and desire, even if the capacity has waned (it will return again, I’ve seen it). Bright spots like traditional family and “spirit-family” – the friends you cultivate that you come to view as siblings, those who are like family to you because you both have chosen it that way. Bright spots like having removed myself from my soon-to-be-ex’s presence (household) (!).
Bright spots like other assets, such as a clean criminal record and a not-shizzy (even if zero) credit history, the ability to even feel gratitude, or the academic/professional accolades I’ve earned. Bright spots like a sizable financial gift from my parents. Bright spots like my mother being still alive and my father having been the man that he was and having taught me what he did. Bright spots like the kitties in my life who purr and snuggle and despite having the freedom to sleep anywhere else in the apartment, specifically choose to sleep with me.
That kind of thing.
I don’t expect my spirit-brother/roommate to be my life coach or financial planner. But maybe that’s not necessarily what I needed tonight, because he is whom I had, and I do feel better now. He had written a letter to my father, the last sentence a promise to “take care of your daughter”, a promise he had unquestionably fulfilled in this instance.
Perhaps all I needed, at this particular moment anyway, was that good ol’ genuine human connection.
I’m sure I will eventually need both a life coach and a financial planner. That is not lost on me, I don’t live in denial. 🙂
But there is beauty in the gray, sunrays that poke through stormclouds, light in the darkness. I do have spirit-siblings and at times traditional family, as well as good acquaintances, who will pull me through. I have patience and other skills imparted to me by my family of origin, to whether me through other storms. I have inner resilience that simply does not take no for an answer and will show up for myself to insist upon what is rightfully due.
(There are probably more, but I’ve already been awake for 21 hours (which is not quite out of the norm for me) and I can feel myself starting to fade, so I’ll simply edit as I think of more.)