I haven't been able to post any entries for over a week because Scott and I have been going through some really serious and intense relationship issues. Believe me I have wanted to. And this on top of everything else; my slowly healing, recently bleeding stomach, the pain from not being able to take the one medication that makes it possible for me to move semi-freely without pain, (The bone on bone grinding in my knees, the fibromyalgia, the burning of my bladder, etc.), -- because it exacerbates the chance of my having another abdominal hemorrhage -- and my Mother's having gone back on an extremely important financial commitment she made to me when I was so sick in Mexico, because she has conveniently forgotten having made it.
The fact that she did this in front of her housekeeper and grandson means nothing to her, "So what! Alright so I may have said I'd help you out for a few months until you're feeling better. I changed my mind. I can change my mind if I want to." The tremendous relief I felt upon my return at having this fair amount of extra financial help was simply incredible, and I just know I was beginning to heal because of it, but this only lasted for a few weeks, maybe less, and then, as always, she changed her mind. I should be used to this by now, I really should. I love her no matter what, but it still hurts and is so frustrating. I'm now more stressed about how I'm going to make ends meet than ever.
Then, just as I was trying to adjust to this, and on a day when I had worked so hard to run around and do everything I could while withstanding so much pain, (I had stopped taking Celebrex and everything, I mean EVERYTHING, was hurting), when I felt like I was being so generous, helpful, good, and forthright, wham, Scott came over and dropped a bomb that has pretty much rocked my world to it's very center.
I've spent hours writing entries about what happened and what we've been going through since then, but I just haven't felt right about sharing them because they were so filled with hurt, upset, and blame at his panicked and unintentional, but seriously hurtful, (what he describes in much milder terms as simply clumsy), handling of the expression of his long suppressed feelings, and the decisions he came to without including me in the process, that I think it was wiser to wait until I had some clarity and was feeling saner and better balanced.
Scott and I have not been having sex often enough for either of us to be happy or satisfied, in fact we hardly have sex at all, and there are many reasons for this. He can blame it on my sex drive, which is partly to blame, and something I have been working on, or my health, which is definitely a big factor, and I can blame it on his complicated intimacy issues, his over enmeshment with marijuana, his health, and his reluctance to give me the closeness and continuity that I need in order to want to be as open and vulnerable as I get when we are having sex regularly, but there are even more issues that need to be addressed; issues of hurt and forgiveness, old wounds on both sides that have never been properly discussed and healed, and this gets in the way.
There's a lot of work that needs to be done, but for my part, knowing that I love him, and am sincerely committed to him, I just let it hang there, naively hoping that it would all work itself out some day, filling the emptiness and the loneliness I feel at night with food, television, and pain medications. Sex was not as pressing of a need for me as it was for him, and it was incredibly short sighted and selfish of me not to see this. Not that he doesn't bear any responsibility in not having worked harder on his end to embrace and nurture this important part of our relationship, but I hold myself accountable for ignoring the fact that he was starving and trying to be a good guy and not act out in some way that would hurt me. I thought I was trying to address the problem by setting up infrequent "dates." But clearly this was not enough, and perhaps too little too late. I hope not.
The week before last I had tried to get us together twice. He blew me off the first time and then we rescheduled for Friday. I tried to arrange everything to his liking, or as much as possible, given the circumstances.
For me, sex with Scott is always wonderful, and it isn't just because I need his big dick, as my friend Atra thinks. He doesn't have a huge dick, he has a perfect dick, a perfect-for-me dick. Because I love him I love his cock. I love everything about it, and I love everything about the way he uses it, and then there are his hands, which are magnificent, and his mouth, and his heart, the sense of connectedness I feel when I'm with him, and I could go on and on. Basically, I love having sex with Scott, and I always have. He has been a wonderful, tender, magnificent lover, from day one. He blows everyone else out of the water, but, (You knew there'd have to be a but here, right?) after we make love, and I am feeling closer to him than I think it is possible to feel with someone, (This clearly isn't an issue for him, as it probably isn't an issue for most men; I don't know, I just have my limited experience and perspective to go on), he seems satisfied in some basic primitive way and then gets anxious to move on, ready to get up and get something to eat, ready to get up and watch TV, ready to get up and leave, and this is what he usually does, run for the comfort of his home, leaving me alone to contend with my feelings.
When he leaves, he really leaves, he often disappears, at least emotionally, for days, (Although not this week because we are both working very hard to be present for each other), and I end up feeling alone and vulnerable just when I need him the most, so I shut down, or close up, like a clam, taking the pearls of our lovemaking, and the tenderness I feel towards him, with me. There have even been times, and I have seen it in the past as a kind of pattern of his, where he has been somewhat sharp or mean towards me after sex, but perhaps this is just my being overly sensitive. I'm not certain, but it definitely isn't something that he has been receptive to working on and as a result I become closed off and self protective. I find reasons to avoid making love. I become hyper attuned to the smell of meat, weed, or garlic on his breath. I let my health and the chronic pain I am constantly in get in the way of this all important thing, and we fall back on our friendship and the limited time that we are able to comfortably spend with each other.
I have talked and talked and talked to him about this -- the issue of intimacy and continuity being important to me as regards my sexual desire and trust, but I truly do not think I have ever been able to find a way to reach him so that he can see how he has contributed to our dwindling sexuality. For him it is all or mostly my fault, and I'm not saying it's all or mostly his fault by any stretch of the imagination. There is so much here that is my own fault or failure. I mentioned this before, but I can only write about this issue from my point of view because this is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to intimacy for me. I simply need to see or hear from my lover the next day, I can't go from zero to fifty, then back to zero and rev up to fifty without keeping the fire stoked in between. I mean even Prince Charles and Camilla had their intimate conversations to keep them going in between trysts. And I don't think Scott has ever told me that he'd like to be my tampon, why is that?
I've told him that I think sex for men is a much simpler thing, much more of a basic function, a simple basic need like food and sleep, whereas for me it is almost Byzantine in it's complexity. It takes a whole host of things to get me going and keep me there; but once I'm there I am seriously there, like now; we've made love six times in the last week and I can't seem to get enough; I want him every day, several times a day, and oddly enough he doesn't, but we are working hard to keep the fire stoked in between, or I am working hard at getting him to work hard, and all of this in the face of this emotional trauma that exists between us. It hasn't been easy.
Unlike some women I have known, I can't just have sex with someone who I simply think is hot looking, I've never been a one night stand kind of gal. I've tried it and hated it. The worst was with an arrogant Parisian waiter, who I finally gave in and had sex with after ten days of flirting, and as proud as he was of his supposed prowess, frankly, he sucked. It sucked. I hated it, and oh how I would love to find him and tell him this after all these years, but he would never remember me, I was just another notch on his belt.
I need to be turned on emotionally, there has to be some kind of relational context, and the same goes for porn, I don't get turned on looking at a guy with a hard on, or even a beautiful woman pleasuring herself, it has to be two people, who look like they are really connecting, literally and figuratively.
In any case I think I've made it more than clear that we haven't been making love often enough for either of us, or anyone else for that matter. So, always mindful of this serious problem, (But not mindful enough), I had attempted to set up two dates. He backed out of the first one, as he often does without realizing or remembering this, and I made the effort to set up another, despite the fact that I am still weak and recovering from my hospitalization in Mexico and the procedures afterwards, (I have to be intentional about lovemaking otherwise we just end up having dinner in bed here at my house, watching television until he gets too tired or jumpy to hang around any longer, and then he leaves, usually within three or four hours, rarely longer). It was two Fridays ago and here I was having made myself and my room as attractive as possible, and I was sitting here waiting for him, feeling vulnerable, because sometimes when I am clear about wanting to be sexual, he pulls a reversal. He has been rebuffed often enough, and is mindful of my hurting, so he doesn't try any more and has left it up to me, which is sad and challenging for both of us, another something we are going to have to address and work on in therapy.
So there I was in my perfumed room, cats removed, bed nicely made, candles lit, waiting for him, and of course, feeling a bit vulnerable. He came in, looked kind of stunned and said, "Where's dinner?" When I reminded him that we'd made plans to make love, and that dinner was downstairs and we could go reheat it and bring it back up afterwards I could tell by the look on his face that something terrible had or was about to happen.
I know that I ramble on and take forever to come to a point. I know that I need an editor like a house needs a foundation, and I have done everything possible to stall telling this, but it is hard for me because I think probably my greatest fear, greater even than the fear of death, is the fear of abandonment, and that is essentially what Scott threatened to do.
He sat down next to me on my bed and couldn't look me in my eyes. He couldn't even look in my direction. His face was set and heavy with emotion. At first I thought he was about to tell me he was having an affair so I asked him, "Are you having an affair?" and he said, "No." Alright, one fear down, ten zillion to go, so then I think I remember asking him if he was gay, I'm not sure, it's hard to remember upsetting things correctly, but pretty quickly I worked around to, "Are you leaving me?" And he said , "Yes," then started to cry and proceeded to tell me how he had been working on this on his own and in therapy for months, and that he had finally come to the conclusion that we should break up.
I wonder if you can imagine the shock and fear than ran through my heart and body; pure adrenaline and terror. This was my best friend, my lover, my partner of sixteen years, my steady, dependable, ever loving rock of a partner, telling me that he wanted out, with nary a hint of this before. No, "Hey, I think we need to go to therapy," no, "Baby, we need to work some things out," just an exit strategy and pure unadulterated rage masked by deep depression and sadness. He tried to make me see his side of it, how unsuited we are for each other, how much our relationship has shrunk, how we have given this thing sixteen years and still aren't any closer to living together. He brought up every upset and hurt he had sustained absent their connection to any hurts or upsets he had dealt me. It was all his upset in a vacuum expressed in the most depressed, angry, and hurtful way. And for whatever failures he may have had as a partner he had an effective answer for that too, "I'm flawed. I don't think I can give you what you need. I don't think I can make you happy." I was Fucked. We were Fucked. He was seriously Fucked because he clearly didn't know how much I love him and seemed to be millimeters away from throwing away his closest ally and best friend in all the world. A relationship of sixteen years isn't something you end without giving the other person a chance, at least not to my sense of fair play.
So we spent the night arguing with me in total ruptured, heart-broken shock. Then what did I do? I threw myself into the deep end, the deep begging humiliated pit of despair, by wrapping my legs and arms around him and telling him how much I loved and needed him, begging him to go to therapy and give our love a chance. I've been here before and it Fucking hurts. And then, just for good, extra good, self destructive measure, I seduced him. We made love, and then he felt better, hungry even, so we went downstairs and got dinner, came back up and sadly ate together while watching television. And then he wanted to leave. As he was leaving I looked up at him and beseechingly said, "Please don't leave me without giving me some kind of hope, something to hang on to," and all he could or would give me was a shrug, a one armed hug, and "Well, I'm glad you want to work on it, but I don't have much hope."
After he left I went insane, temporarily, although since I am still insane and probably always have been, I don't know how temporary this whole thing is. I felt terrorized and used. I felt wadded up and thrown away. I felt like a whore. I sat in my bed trying to think of who I could reach out to, but I couldn't bring myself to call anyone and bother them that late at night. I sat here for something like nine or ten hours and cried, cried harder than I can remember crying in the last ten years. The thought of living my life without my partner was too much for me, the idea that I was about to live through the same thing I had gone through with Robby (my ex) only now with Scott who I had trusted more than I could or would ever trust any man, was truly more than I could bear.
As the hours wore on I began to feel more and more desperate, I considered suicide and quickly pushed it aside for Beau's sake, for the sake of the animals in my care, and for Esther and her family. As a mother suicide is no longer an option for me. I didn't think about my own Mother because her love for and acceptance of me has always felt so ambivalent, and I was/am feeling so hurt by her, and I certainly didn't think of Scott because it truly felt as if he didn't love or want me any more.
Then, as the sun came up, and I was feeling increasingly desperate, I started to think about cutting myself to relieve the pain, something I have only done twice before in my life. I called Scott and spoke to his machine, begging him to wake up and come to the phone to kind of talk me down, but he wouldn't pick up. I didn't tell him anything more than that I was feeling pretty desperate. I called my psychiatrist, who is still out of town and had left a referral to a stranger I just didn't want to call and try to explain myself to.
I thought about committing myself to an inpatient facility because the pain seemed more than I could bear, and I wanted to turn it over to someone else, but again, this just didn't seem like a reasonable or sane solution; cowardly, considering the number of people and animals who are entrusted to my care, and the rampant destruction my Mother could do were I not to be here to protect my family and home. I honestly don't think I could trust her not to come in here and take over and make the changes she feels should be made in my absence.
Then, I remembered my old therapist and friend Susan, who had always been so loving and supportive, and who Scott was recently seeing, but who I had begun to blame for what seemed like insane behavior on his part. I mean I love him so much, how could he just give up on us? How could he have reached this extreme conclusion without me? But I thought that if I could somehow reach her, if I could just hold out until a socially-acceptable, reasonable hour to call, that maybe she could hold my hand over the phone and get me through this period of wanting to inflict harm on myself. But the number listed for her didn't even have an answering machine, and the other number I found might have been her home phone number and I just didn't want to intrude, especially not that early in the morning.
I called Scott again, begging him for help, but none came. So I took two valium and reached for my X-acto knife, a dull, rusty X-acto knife, and through my tears, I made three shallow cuts on my wrist, two on the top of my left thigh, and again three more on my inner right thigh, as close to my vagina as I could because that was where I was feeling the deepest rejection and pain, and frankly that was where I wanted him to see my pain the most. Then the valium began to take effect and I curled up into a ball on my right side and finally fell asleep. When I woke up Scott was there crying and telling me how sorry he was for how badly he had handled things and that he loved me.
This is really hard to write about because I imagine that many of you will judge me. The people who have sprung up out of nowhere to attack me here in the past, and who perhaps don't know my history of sexual and physical abuse, the wounds I carry from childhood onwards, certainly won't understand or care. But I have hope that my oldest and dearest LJ friends, and perhaps new and wonderful people who have kindly wandered in and remained, might just understand, and that is why I continue bearing my heart here, reaching out, being as honest as I can, because this is a deeply personal and creative endeavor, and a commitment I made to myself and to all of you, a commitment I made to be completely honest with all of you, over eight years ago now.
My understanding of cutting, (And I was just told yesterday by a prominent therapist that I am merely a dabbler who she is not too concerned about -- as regards cutting), is that it addresses at least two immediate needs when someone is in acute pain and distress; one is that it shows the person who is hurting you, and who seems oblivious to the fact that they are hurting you, that they are indeed hurting you and badly, it acts as a kind of outward manifestation of internal pain, making something invisible and uncared for visible, and secondly, that it immediately causes the body to release much needed endorphins that relieve the person who is suffering from some of the pain. Inflicting physical pain to alleviate emotional pain seems and may be insane, but it worked for me at the time. It isn't something I plan on doing again. I am getting therapy for this because clearly I need help with this so please don't worry, and try not to judge me too harshly.
A week ago I probably would have been telling you how cruel, unkind, and heartless Scott is, and that would have been completely unfair of me. I still hold him responsible for the way he handled all of this, for his inability to honestly look at his own failings, the part he has played in contributing towards some of his own unhappiness in our relationship, and for not having involved me in his process. But I am in a different place now, and I am looking at what I have done or not done to let him and us down, despite the unnecessarily painful way he handled this, and the fact that it took me some time, (it's still taking me time), to get over the shock of what happened between us in order to come to a better and more empathic understanding of his perspective, and of how unfair I have been to him -- how much he needed to express these feelings, how long he had been holding them in, and how hard it had been for him to do, because I am always in some crisis or another. He felt that there was/is never a good time to come to me to discuss the deeper issues we have. He feels that he's a bad guy no matter what he does, he felt trapped, and so he did the only thing he could and came to me with extremely pent up anger and hurt. His hurt had run on for so long and was so deep that he couldn't wait one day longer to express it.
When Scott expresses hurt -- frankly, truthfully -- he is terrible at it. He doesn't seem to be able to ever calmly or neutrally discuss his feelings in hopeful or positive ways. He doesn't seem to be able to address it in current time or without rancor. And he blames me for this because he doesn't want to hurt or upset me. I would much rather hear things calmly and neutrally before they blow up all out of proportion, than let them build. He can't for example, say, in real time, "Hey, honey, I'm noticing that you...," and "Here's what I think we should do about this." Or even, "I've been feeling hurt lately because you...and I'm starting to think you don't care about me. Do you think you could...?" It comes out as rage or aggressive broodiness. It is extremely hard to hear or take in when he delivers it in this way. But he readily admits this, and now, finally, after days of painful arguing, and much love making, he is agreeing to giving it a go, he is willing to give me a little more hope that we might be able to make things work between us, whereas last week the best he could do was coldly say, "I promise that we will still be together until we mutually agree otherwise." That was the best he could offer, and I had to hang on to that.
In my desperation to hold onto him, (Because I really, truly love him, whether other people get this or not, or understand us or not, I'm the only one who is really here in this relationship with him, I'm the one who is living this life with him, and I know him, I really know him, and I get him, and that's important), I have had to set aside the part he has played in getting us to where we are now, and I have had to search my soul and try to be as honest as possible with what I have done to hurt him, with where my responsibility lies, and with where I have failed us. I feel hopeful that I can change, I am already doing this, but I am not completely insane, I am not completely defeated and beaten down, I know that I am valuable and worthwhile. I know that I am a good and loving woman with a lot to offer. I know that I have let life beat me down for a bit and I am going to come out of this a better person. But I can only do this relationship work if he is willing to meet me part way, and if he cannot, then as gut wrenching, seriously gut wrenching, as this is, then I will have to let him go.
In addition to all of this, and right smack in the middle of our trying to heal the rift, we ran into a serious and weird setback. Our beloved therapist and friend, who I finally reached the morning after that terrible night, melted down mid-session with Scott and from what I can piece together, has essentially left all of her clients high and dry, or maybe it's just us and one other patient that we know of. Whatever it is, she is going through something very big and personal and just couldn't go on any longer, something nearly unheard of in professional circles, but not something that we can't understand or forgive because we love her. It's just been super painful, and more abandonment for the abandonment-war-weary Jacqui.
I left two messages on her answering machine telling her what had happened, I explained that I was not suicidal, and that I never would be because of my love for Beau, but that I did fantasize about it in moments of great distress. I did tell her about the cutting, and how desperate I was feeling, and not to worry because I always survive these things, but would she please call me back. She returned my call and told me she would like to have me come back as a client and I readily and gratefully agreed. She made me feel so safe and loved. She told me she would be there for me/us and not to worry, that she would help us get through this. She told me that she knows how much we love each other and that her goal was to do everything possible to keep "the love fest" going.
We set up a one hour phone session for me, a one hour phone session for Scott, and a two hour, in-person, couples therapy session for the both of us. Scott and I were hanging onto this like an abandoned ship's passengers hanging on to a life raft. I had my session with her and she was, as she has always been, so loving, accepting, generous, and kind. She was surprised when I told her how much pot Scott smokes and how challenged he had been when I asked him if he could go two hours without smoking the night before, so that, after having had to fight through the haze of it for hours while working through some of our stuff, I really desperately needed some sober time with him, so I could connect with him more clearly and easily. I told her that when I asked for this he started crying at the mere thought of going two hours without the support of this medicine that would make the pain of all the feelings he was dealing with go away. And then I told her he broke his agreement, came over high, and wasn't even able to tell me, which would have been something I could have handled had he been forthright enough to say anything even resembling, "Babe, I know I promised I wouldn't be stoned when I came over but I am just too freaked out right now, I'm too upset, I'm sorry, I couldn't do it." At least that would have been respectful and loving.
I am not totally intolerant of pot smoking. I want it to be legal. I see the value in it. Hell, I want to grow it. I know how much it helps people. I don't want or mean to judge anyone for reasonable, at least somewhat managed, responsible smoking. I just can't tolerate it for myself, the smell of it makes me feel sick, and I can't handle smoke because I am allergic to it and it makes me feel weak and sick. Pot itself makes me hyper aware of my physical pain and has the exact opposite affect on me that it has on other people. Whereas your average smoker might feel relaxed, sedated, happy, and perhaps less aware of their pain when they get high, with me I become anxious, hyper, and intensely aware of every ache and pain in my body, plus it depresses me intensely. As you can see, this is obviously an issue for us, and already I have begun to try to find ways to work around what I had felt were reasonable limits and boundaries.
But getting back to my therapy session, Susan said that she knew he smoked but not to the degree that I was describing. She reminded me that I was dealing with an addiction and that she would address this with him in their next session. She asked me if what I was getting from him was enough for me, asked me why I wanted to stay, and then suggested that for our peace of mind that we not do any more of this emotional work outside of session, that we should just be loving and gentle with each other and do the hard stuff with her. She also told me that what Scott was going through had nothing to do with an affair and that he was absolutely not having one. I was so grateful to her for telling me this, but a tiny alarm went off in my mind that said, "Isn't she not supposed to be telling me this? Oh screw it, I'm so glad she trusts us both enough to know it would be fine to reveal this to me."
The only other thing that stood out for me was her asking me not to leave content based messages on her machine, she said that it was a lot for her to handle, and that she would prefer I simply call and ask her to get back to me. She told me that she checks her machine constantly. I readily agreed. She also asked me not to cut myself any more. I told her that I really didn't think I would but that if I felt I was headed that way I would call instead. In retrospect I think I should have simply agreed and left it at that because I don't have the desire to do this, I did it because I was shocked and desperate and left hanging with so much feeling, but I think this scared her. But this is a woman I spent YEARS of therapy with, years and years of sessions with, who called me on my birthday this year even though I have long forgotten when hers is, and who I really thought knew me well.
Cut to Scott's one on one session with Susan. I can't say exactly what went on because I wasn't there, but knowing him, it probably involved a lot of very deep emotional processing. I know that having once been an addict of a much more serious kind of substance herself she would have very much wanted to address this with him, and knowing him I am certain he would have minimized it and driven the conversation back to me and the things that I have done to hurt him.
Scott told me that he felt that she wasn't listening, wasn't present, and had to ask her several times if she was okay. Half way through the session she basically melted down saying she had never felt this way before and needed to hang up to gather herself. Then she called back and told Scott that she couldn't help me, or us, and canceled all of our sessions. I believe she said something about being overwhelmed, having personal issues, being concerned about not being able to help me, and that all of her patients were in crisis, and I haven't heard a word from her since then. To be fair she has called Scott and left a couple of referrals for him but that's it, she can't or won't address what went down in one of the weirdest therapy twists I've ever heard of, seriously.
My heart goes out to her, it really does, because this isn't the woman either of us have known for so many years, or maybe it is and the poor thing has just been pushing her own needs aside for so long in order to take care of everyone else that she just reached a limit without realizing it. I hope she's okay. I hope her other clients are going to be okay. And I hope that when she is stronger we can have some kind of closure because I do love her very much and this hurts. It hurts being too much to handle for your own therapist who you think knows you so well.
Thankfully, I have been led to another therapist who has a thriving practice and is also a teaching professor at USC with a PHD. We had a great session where she reassured me that she thinks my actions and reactions are within the realm of normal given my history and what I have been through recently. I mean how much more raw, bottomed out, and unable to process serious upset can a person be than when they are lying in bed recovering from a bleeding ulcer? So at least she didn't turn me away, and at least Scott and I are still together, making love to the point of soreness, and hopeful that with the help of one of several therapists we will be able to find some way to hear each other and make some changes for the better.
I love him so very much. I don't know how to describe to you how steady and dependable he has been, and how much he has put up with on my end. I don't know how to describe what it is about him that I love so very much because some of it is intangible, it is feeling based. I can tell you that he is one of the most intuitive, sensitive, woman loving men I have ever known. He is my best friend and the whole best friend thing means a lot to me, it always has. Beyond that, you'll just have to take my word that he is special and worth fighting for.
Please try to be kind if you made it this far and feel like commenting, (honesty is fine, just try to be kind), because I am trying to keep us together, trying to find some hope to hang on to, trying to build a bridge between us, and labeling us as co-dependant and addict won't be something we haven't heard or thought of before. And in the absence of my listing all of my own many failings it isn't fair to hang everything on this one thing, he has plenty of other issues to find fault with as well, we both do, we both really do, but we do love each other. Sixteen years is a lot of time to invest in a love, and I am praying he will understand that we are worth the effort.
Wow, I can't believe I finished one of these. Now let's see if I can work up the courage to post it... Hopefully my next entry will be about cats or something lighter ; ) 143