My Greatest Fear
We survived Christmas. We even managed to enjoy some of it. Mom, Dad and Grandpa were here with us. Mom still didn't know, but I'm fairly sure she knew something was up. Of course, thanks to Richard, Dad knew, but Dad didn't know I knew he knew (That part of the ride was very twisted!), and anytime with my grandpa is time well spent. It seemed like the kids were good, too. Richard and I had done an admirable job of keeping up appearances.
We still went to our marriage counselor every week and to our individual therapists, too. If you asked me today what we got out of all those hours of therapy, I'd be hard pressed to articulate it. In most of the sessions, I was too angry to hear anything the professionals had to say. I was never really honest with my emotions because I was much too afraid to face them. Anger was my emotion of choice for such a long time. If I wasn't angry, then I became vulnerable. If those were my two choices, anger was the big winner. Anger made me feel like I had power. I had control.
Here's a tip for those of you fresh into the mess...You can't control the coaster. At some point, you're gonna have to admit that to yourself. It might help if you can swallow that jagged little pill sooner rather than later. I fought that reality for over a year. I couldn't face the fact that when your spouse cheats and you decide to try and work through it so you can stay married to the bastard, you can't avoid becoming vulnerable. You can act all Toughie Pants, but right under that facade lies Vulnerable Vicki. She is scared shitless 24/7 and you shouldn't ignore her.
My Vicki wasn't a big wuss or anything, but she was no match for Toughie Pants. She was actually the smartest of all my persona's. She knew, and in turn that obviously means I knew, this marriage might already be beyond repair. We could just be spinning our wheels. Our efforts might come to nothing. Vicki knew all that, but she was willing to risk additional sorrow.
Underneath Toughie Pants, under all my angry bravado, I was so scared. I've never been so scared. How would my life look without Richard? Toughie Pants was ready to find out. At some point, during every hour of counseling, Toughie Pants announced that it was time for Richard to go. Vicki kept silent. Toughie Pants needed space. Vicki needed a Xanax, a martini and a hug.
Vicki understood the ramifications of separation. We call them "Trial" separations. In this particular type of "Trial" the judge and jury are also the accused and the accuser. That's messy. Most "Trial" separations result in a divorce soon after. That's a fact. Look it up. Vicki knew it and she kept it to herself. She deferred to Toughie Pants who wanted Richard out.
Toughie Pants thought sending Richard away would make him understand how much he had damaged me, the true depth of my wounds. He had to suffer the same egregious pain that he had wrought to be able to comprehend the consequences of his choice to love another. Toughie Pants made the demands for Richard's departure to lash out, not to help me heal. Vicki wanted me to heal, but I wasn't ready to let her yet.
I wish I had been smarter. Hell, my brain function back then didn't set the bar very high, so I can say with great confidence now, I'm a freakin' Einstein compared to back then! I'm smart enough to know this...I let Toughie Pants run the show even though I was terrified of being alone, because I was even more afraid to let myself be vulnerable.
You can't love without vulnerability, People. It just ain't possible.
So, I guess I don't mean smarter. I mean braver. If I had been braver, I would have let Vicki have her moment. Vicki should have been given her due. She could have prevented what happened next.
Vicki never would have let me ask for a divorce.