I learned how to ride a motorcycle, sort of.
Beginner’s class. Basic lessons. Little motorcycles.
I wanted to be able to bond, to cling, to BE with Him.
I want to truly try, to give US the chance to be real again.
I got much more than I ever realized I might get out of that class.
Perhaps some is projection. Some is direct analogy. Some triggered me terribly as I saw the connections fall into place over and over and over. Some was watching his actions with a new comprehension of who and what he is doing. Some is putting thoughts in his head, but since I don’t know what is really going on, and what I do see is terrifying and confusing and hurtful, I am trying to make sense of the unknown, to put a name to it, to deal with it and control my fear as best I can.
A few of my lessons:
1. Pushing through fear. I was afraid before every single lesson. ‘I need to go to the bathroom badly’ afraid. But I did it anyway. I did my best. I wanted to learn the lessons. I was there. I had made the choice. I must stay focused, in the moment, hold on to my own self if I am to stay upright and balanced and not wipe out on the motorcycle. I was so scared I just tried not to dwell on it, only to visualize the best outcome I could. Do my utmost best. I was sticking with it, even when told I should consider quitting. I cried, I feared, I asked to see what lay ahead, and I decided I would just keep trying each lesson as they came. I visualized each step, felt my body doing the moves. I rehearsed. I tried. I survived.
Living with Him will be just like that. I fear every time something comes up. A change. A failure. A success. I fear so badly I get nauseated, and I have to go the bathroom, and I feel sick with terror. Fear, such horrible fear in this relationship. He returns to his addictions, food, smoking, lusting, lying, denying, adrenalin, sugar, blaming, self pitying. Those are his issues to deal with. But I am here to learn a lesson. I made the choice. I want to learn relationship skills that I obviously haven’t had. I want to learn what I WANT and what I DO NOT WANT and how to tell the difference.
I am practicing. I am practicing my relationship skills.
I wonder what he is practicing.
2. Clarity and focus, seeing the lesson ahead, noticing the details, learning a new skill, putting it all together. Driving a motorcycle while impaired is asking for a disaster. Sometimes we have to take the keys from someone to keep them safe, even if they curse us for it.
I got a lesson in clarity, what he actually looks like in full addict mode. There were a couple of women in the class. Their clothing and attitude screamed ‘I USED TO STRIP FOR A LIVING!’ My gut clenched and my heart sank as I watched him descend into full addict mode. Distracted. (Hot hot hot I want I want I want!) Oggling. (Lust lust lust lust, obsess obsess obsess obsess!) Denying and gaslighting when I said something about where he was looking. (Did not! Did not! You are such a liar!) Attacking me for standing my ground about what I was witnessing. (Bullshit! Bullshit!) Angry and blaming. (Stay out of my fantasy! Quit getting close to the truth!) He apologized for the anger, and for not supporting me when I expressed my fears, but never for the actions. He was practicing falling into addiction. Sometimes he practices relating, openning, being vulnerable and honest, but that is so foreign to him. I don’t know if he even CAN see when he is falling into addiction. I am not his counselor. I am not his accountability buddy. He doesn’t have those. But I must point up what I notice when I do, or I am not being his friend, only enabling, allowing myself to be manipulated, refusing to look.
I am practicing. I am practicing my relationship skills. Practice makes improvement.
I wonder what he is improving.
3. Have a strategy for keeping out of trouble on the road. SEE. Keep looking and plan ahead. Be prepared for hazards. An accident isn’t one factor, it is many. Break the chain, and you might prevent the accident.
He isn’t prepared. He has no plan for when he falls back into lust. He has never practiced a strategy for when he feels triggered. He has never called anyone regularly so he feels comfortable or right to call them in dire need. He has no sponsor. He has no accountability partner. He has no plan. He is doomed to fail without a plan. I’m not sure he actually wants a plan. Having a plan means that you anticipate success. That you could succeed if you chose, rather than blame your own weakness and allow yourself to fail. Fearing failure every moment. He is so used to living in fear. Fear of his father’s anger. Fear of his mother’s clinging. Fear of being caught being ‘bad’. Life = fear. No fear = not alive, boring, dull, loser. Having a plan means not riding on the thrill of fear that you might fail, but facing it down and acting to take responsibility for potential actions, to stop yourself rather than make excuses for giving in to I WANT I WANT I WANT! Patti Henry said an emotionally incested man was slow to start, like trying to move a freight train. Watching his addiction spiral is like watching a train wreck. I see it coming. There is nothing I can do. It is horrifying to witness.
I am practicing. I am practicing my relationship skills. I am practicing being prepared, but being safe.
I wonder what he is preparing for.
4. Going fast is filled with heart pounding adrenalin. A sense of freedom that is addictive. I liked the skill of stopping. I am not into adrenalin. He is an adrenalin junky. Motorcycle riding is addictive, FUN, a RUSH!
He gets off on the rush. I always thought he was very laid back. Now I know he was just never present, never really there, drugged out of his mind. I like him better now that he has real spunk, has real emotions. When he has them. When he isn’t just flying back into addict lala land. Soaking in the sewer of addiction. Planning, thinking, obsessing, sneaking, lying, maybe maybe maybe getting caught! Sugar in the coffee = sugar rush! Smoke a cigarette = rush! Flirt with a woman = ooooh, she likes me = she might have sex with me! = sex sex sex rush rush rush! Hurt my wife = she might get mad at me = she might yell and scare me = RUSH! Ride a motor cycle = heart pounding adrenalin = rush! No one tells me what to do = resent any requests, they are all attacks and demands = mad at them all = hate them all = RUSH! And on the heels of each mad RUSH will come the inevitable CRASH. And as glorious as he hopes the rush will be, so equally low will be the crash. Horrible, wrenching, depressing, soul tearing hitting bottom. And he will desperately look to have that rush again, to run from the desolation he created by needing that constant rush until his brain and body can take no more and NEED TO RECOVER. Recovering, rest, peace and quiet is all his body is asking for. But instead, when the only emotions left are negative and ancient pains surface once again and he has to face himself in the mirror, then he will push for the next high, fantasize about the newest women who might have had sex with him if only his wife weren’t such a bitch, and then how he can make it happen. And he knows just how to make it happen. And how much it would hurt her, and how angry she will be, and the scene she will make, and how close I might get caught!!!! RUSH RUSH RUSH RUSH RUSH!!!!!
I am practicing. I am practicing my relationship skills. That is why I am here.
I wonder where he really is.
5. Where you eyes go, your body follows. Turn your head where you want to go. Your body and the bike follow your eyes. Visualize the outcome you are looking for.
His eyes were on the women. So went his mind. So will follow his body. Mental imagery, visualization of the outcome, rehearsal in the mind. But he rehearses how to seduce a woman. Obsessed about how good it will make him feel that they want him for sex. When his triggering women had left the class, the next day he began ‘grooming’ the remaining good looking woman, flirting, laughing appreciatively at her words. Right in front of me. He rehearses how he might be able to get women to sacrifice their self esteem by throwing themselves upon his dick. He might wish terribly he were a womanizer, like he imagines his brother was some great womanizer, but since he expects to be rejected, he doesn’t even really try for actual seduction. Real women require work. Why risk rejection when you can pay for sex, and merely risk your marriage? He chooses his risks and makes his choices. He schmoozes the real women he is lusting after, gets himself a hint of approval, then goes off and fantasizes about them. Always on the look out for the next fantasy woman. At work. In a class. In a store. In a magazine. Maybe they would prove what a nice guy he really is by having sex with him. Then he can have external validation to feel good about himself. I get that. I understand that desire, that thinking. But he doesn’t just THINK, he ACTS on those thoughts, follows through, demonstrates NO SELF CONTROL. He allows himself to seek out sex with a paid stranger as easily as I might give in to buying a piece of chocolate cake at Quick Trip. Yet, he feels that anyone who actually OFFERS to have sex with him must be defective, because NO ONE actually WANTS him, so he rejects them in his heart and with his actions. Like he rejects me with his actions but tries to pull me in with his words, but he has no respect for words because he uses them to lie, uses his quality time to deceive and hide secrets. He hurts me just because I care about Him. Toxic relationship, toxic toxic toxic. I do NOT WANT TO BE IN A TOXIC RELATIONSHIP!
I am practicing. I am practicing my relationship skills. I need to learn from my mistakes.
I wonder what he considers mistakes.
6. You are going to make mistakes. Two people wiped out during class. That scared me, made me even more hesitant, even slower on the throttle. Me, well, I fell over. (What’dya fall over for? I didn’t do it on purpose!) Mostly embarrassed, but I learned also. The pavement is a cruel teacher. Yet I managed to fall gracefully, realize it was happening, not fight the inevitable but go down gently and soften my impact. Rather than cry or scream, I managed a quiet ‘Oh Damn.’ I handled it well.
He is bound to fail sometimes. Might as well get it over with now. He is getting a better position at work, one with respect, where people want him. He is on the verge of a new success. I think he is terrified of success. When he got close to success last time, graduated college, a great job, he sabotaged his marriage to keep himself feeling worthless, afraid, in self pity. It is easier to rehearse failure than success. If he succeeds, then he might be expected to succeed again, and that is too much pressure. Besides, he thinks of himself as a failure. He is very likely to sabotage this new success by destroying what pieces are left of his marriage. It is so much easier, safer, just the right amount of risk, to hurt people who love you. If you hurt your enemies, they might actually hurt you back because they don’t give a damn! If you hurt people who love you, the pain they feel is so much worse (rush!) and they wouldn’t dream of giving you back as good, or cruel, as you gave them. It doesn’t matter how many of his love languages I learn to speak proficiently. It doesn’t matter how many skills I develop in patience and kindness. If he refuses to listen, to heed, to want to be loved, if he chooses failure, then failure it will be. But that doesn’t mean that I will have to fall along with him. I love. I am not sure what I love, who I love, but I do love, and I want to practice giving him love. If I don’t practice the good things, only the bad, than that is all I will know how to do. I don’t want to learn how to hurt other people because I get some weird sort of pleasure or thrill or satisfaction from it. I don’t want to hurt all the time, either. I think he likes being in pain. I don’t want to share the pain.
I am practicing. I am practicing my relationship skills. I think that is why I am here, now, in this pain, in this class.
I wonder what the universe is trying to teach Him.
7. The Universe knows. The Universe wants me to know, to acknowledge. Motorcycle 13. I missed 13 on the final driving test. The area was filled with hawks and falcon and crows. Signs signs signs everywhere, my beloved.
I called him Mike once, during the class. I dreamed of my first husband, and knew somehow He was deceiving me. He was often ugly in my eyes, and had that look, hunched over, pupils little pinpricks, breathing fast and hard, really creepy. I knew what I saw, what I witnessed. I knew. But when the instructor actually called him up to receive his certificate, and called him ‘Mike’! OH. MY. GODS. The Universe gave me full recognition that he was addict all the way. It is not my imaginings, it is a truth, and the Universe validated my despair, my truth, my fear, my success at recognizing all these things. And if he is actively diminishing me, demonizing me, rejecting me in his mind and heart, than nothing I say, nothing I do, nothing I offer and nothing I ask or need will mean anything to him. He will elevate his addictions over me, over real love, over real life, because life is hard, and fantasy is easy.
I am practicing. I am practicing my relationship skills. I want something real to take with me, to add to my existence.
I wonder what he is adding to the world, to his life.
8. Nothing lasts forever. The class did end. I did more than survive, I even passed the driving test!
I can survive this. I can learn valuable life lessons. How to have a real relationship. How to recognize an addict and stay the hell away. How to recognize when my boundaries are violated. How to deal with my pain. How to deal with my fear. How to take responsibility for my own responses. How to respond quietly and without blame, but not back down from my truth, even in the face of someone’s anger. How to stand my ground, kindly, purposefully. How to avoid falling into the trap of having my buttons pushed. How to respond like an adult, not a triggered child. How to succeed even though the odds are stacked against me. How to persevere when I intend to succeed. How to accept criticism and support. How to ask for help without nagging. How to keep containment and get my head back on straight. How to let the goddess in when I need extra strength. How to withstand shame and pain. How to offer love to someone even if they don’t know how to love me back. How to know when to walk away. And that this, too, shall pass. Either he will realize that living as an adrenalin/rush/pain/fear/chemical/food/sex junky will destroy his chances at happiness and take real, strong, proactive steps to SEE, or I will outgrow him and learn how to move on and recognize real intimacy, real relationships, real love. Even if that real intimacy, relationship, and love is only to be with myself and my family. Much less alone than I feel in this marriage.
I dreamt a very interesting, unusual dream. It had a hunt for treasure through swamps bordered by long low walls. Entering a scary jungle and having to tame the black leopard until it rolled over and purred like a kitten. Being silently hunted by people who wanted what I was seeking. It was a long dream with many scenarios more like rooms, or the bordered areas of the motorcycle driving arena. I don’t recall all that much. Until the end. We found that treasure, my ex best friend and I. The government wanted their share, I think, but we had been sneaky and were escaping with the entire loot. I don’t know where I had hidden my part. I only remember being up in the air, flying, falling, maybe with a parachute, maybe a hang glider, maybe an ultralight. But I was high, and coming to ground. I was speaking to a police detective who was trying to find out where I was, trying to trick me into revealing my location. But I just said ‘sorry, I have to go now.’ And the flat ground, fields yellow brown from late summer heat, coming quickly beneath me. Out in the middle of nowhere. I was coming down. And, like having a motorcycle beneath me, I would hit the ground running, at speed, rumbling along that road I was aiming for. I would be completely free, independent, and off into my own adventure.
I felt so free when I woke up. I felt so strong and alive and hopeful. I soon began sobbing when I realized that I felt like I was just being used to fuel his addiction, the thing that if he hurt me it was safe to hurt me and he could keep his fear driven adrenalin rush going. I sobbed and sang a mourning song as I took a shower. It was only 3:15 in the morning, but I took a shower. And I left to go have breakfast. And write what I needed to write. Because I felt free, and I was going to go do something for myself and enjoy my morning, even though I was heart broken and in fear. But I know I can survive that fear. Each day will be like another motorcycle lesson, and I will get through it.
Living with an addict is like trying to go from a baby motorcycle to a jet plane in relationship skills.
I wonder if I will get a nice certificate when my lessons are done.
I am practicing.