K. Post-California: The Final Straws

The day after we got back, I had to put up with yet another episode of sulking and clinging dependency. Fran had called you earlier to ask you if we wanted to go to the block party the Sunday we got back. I had already told you even before we left for our trip that I probably wouldn’t feel like going, since we would’ve just gotten back and the next day I’d have to get up early to go to work. Now when you proposed going again the day after we got back, I really didn’t want to go, because of the reasons above and the next evening was our first aerobics class and I knew I just needed to rest. Plus we had just spent several days running around in LA. I very calmly explained to you these reasons for my not wanting to go, but I could see you still wanted to go, so I said nicely, "That’s okay, you can go with Fran if you want." Your response?--To literally start sulking right before my eyes. Why is it not possible for you to do anything without me?? This was extremely annoying, but I couldn’t say anything because if I did I would’ve gotten either the angry lashing or the seething silent treatment, or both.

I eventually decided go to the block party out of guilt (you pouted so convincingly about it), and yes, I did end up having a good time, but one thing that marred it was your attitude toward Angela. After how rudely you had treated her in the past, you were still hostile toward her, angrily saying to me that "it just figured" she’d lie to Michelle about where she was going! You had completely missed the facts (which I got speaking with her alone while you were in the grocery store) yet you automatically assumed the worst about her since you held her in such complete disregard. She is such a terrible person, anything she does automatically has bad motives.

The next night, Monday after our first aerobics class, you kindly took me in when I was exhausted and hypoglycemic. I do appreciate your concern, but I shouldn't have stayed over. While I was going in, I knew I was doing something against my better judgement. By that time, I couldn't stand being in your house. I couldn't stand hearing you bicker with your mother. I just didn't want to be there, given that I was in such pain over our relationship and I felt I was not being honest to either you or myself. I take full responsibility for making this mistake.

Waking up at 3 AM crying felt absolutely horrible and was out of my control. Initially you took me in, then shut me out, then pulled me closer again. I could not help feeling the way I did. On the surface you seemed to accept my emotional pain, but I should have known what was sure to follow--an attack.

Tell me, at any time during this episode, did I attack you??! I was merely trying (as I had been trying for damn near two years) to express to you my feelings which by that time were completely overwhelming.

Two days later, on the way to Mary's, I could tell you were in your usual angry sulking mood. When we got to the office and I asked you if you wanted to go to the bathroom with me, you just shrugged your shoulders, wouldn't talk to me, wouldn’t look at me--the typical silent treatment. At our session, there was just so much I needed to talk about. But I deferred to you, as you launched into the thing about the jasper pyramid. Mary saw that this was leading to nowhere, so she suggested again that perhaps we should do the "each of you make a list about what bothers you about the other person and we'll address them one by one" exercise. You responded furiously, "well, as long as she doesn't CRY--I think that's just a TACTIC to make me feel GUILTY..." You spat the words out with venom.

It makes me extremely upset just to remember this. It was like in that very moment, everything that was wrong with our relationship came crashing out into the open. I had expressed genuine pain to you, you took it as an attack, and in turn launched a crushing, hostile counterattack, accusing me of trying to make you feel guilty!! This was the pure embodiment of all of our difficulties! I completely lost it--after two years of this shit, this was really the ultimate. You had managed to even top yourself. You know what happened next--I jumped up, screamed "IT IS NOT A TACTIC!!!" but the sad thing is, no matter how hard I screamed you would have never understood.

Looking back, I realize that in that moment it became crystal clear that my feelings and pain meant absolutely nothing to you, and that I would never, ever be heard. It was completely hopeless.

As you will remember, subsequently during this session I really flipped out. So many times over the previous two years, I had felt I was at the end of my rope. Now I truly was at the end of my rope. I had finally reached the breaking point, as demonstrated by my behavior, which I am not proud of.  [Note: I threw a chair onto the floor and then kicked in the office wall. I did not aim the chair toward Terry, hit her, or threaten her in any way, but I did cause some property damage.] That was probably the most violent I have ever been in my life. Fortunately, Mary could see these signs even when I was not being rational. She could see the emotional violence and destruction that were occuring, and like a referee in the ring, separated us like two boxers. She could see that enough damage had been done, and that at this point it was just best for us to take a break. Looking back, I can see that she made the right call[Note: Mary told us to completely separate--no contact--for at least two weeks. Thank you Mary!!!]

The next few weeks really gave me a chance to think. I came to fully accept the fact that I was hurting myself by staying in the relationship. I realized that given all the issues in your past, you were simply not going to change, at least not without years of therapy. I realized that, if I wanted to stick it out with you, I would have a very hard life and that I would not be happy. I realized that if I willingly kept myself in the path of a Mack truck, and then that Mack truck as expected ran me over, then who was to blame? Myself! It was a given that you would simply hurt me over and over, and push me away whenever I tried to become closer. The only thing I could do to save myself, was leave the relationship, no matter how much it hurt.

During this period a lot of things really sunk in. I saw how you never took responsibility for anything that went wrong in your life. I saw how your low self-esteem made it impossible for you to treat anyone else well. I was rapidly running out of excuses to stay in the relationship. Of course I still had those last desperate hopes and dreams.

The end came suddenly and not at all in a manner in which I would have expected. The end came delivered to me in a letter on my apartment floor. In this letter you calmly and sincerely proposed that of all people, Mary was the cause of all our troubles! I simply could not believe it!! In what had to be the world's most spectacular demonstration of blameshifting, you proceeded to accuse Mary of "placing our relationship in peril," and of causing us to "see each other as adversaries." I propose to you, that our relationship was in peril without any help from Mary, and that you had been seeing me as an "adversary" months and months and months before we had ever even met Mary! You stated how we were "torn apart by someone else’s decisions." What about your shitty treatment of me, for nearly two years?? You proceeded to criticize Mary for how she had conducted her sessions with us. After nine months of seeing her, and you repeatedly saying during those nine months things like "Oh, I really like Mary," and "I think Mary is a really good person/therapist," NOW all of a sudden she was incompetent, unprofessional, and been doing harm to us all along??! It was amazing to me, that after all that had happened, you could come up with something even more outrageous. This really took the cake. Upon reading your letter, everything became so crystal clear to me, that this was a pattern of thinking so deeply ingrained in you (not taking responsibility for your difficulties but blaming others instead), that it was fruitless to even address with you. I’ll bet that even right now, you don't understand what I'm talking about.

This letter had such an effect on me, that the next day, before aerobics class, I fired off my letter to you in under two hours. I knew that it wouldn't be perfect, I knew that there were a hundred, perhaps a thousand more things to say, but I knew that regardless, I HAD to do something immediately, which was break up with you. I figured I would just have to deal with all the other issues later. In fact, I knew that merely telling you that I had lost all trust in you, that I couldn't afford to put myself in a position of being repeatedly hurt by you, should suffice as enough reason to end my relationship with you.

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