Category Archives: divorce

Many Roads, One Journey


ForkintheRoadIt’s been a while, eh? Nearly six months, to be exact. I didn’t think I’d ever come back to this blog, to be honest, and I was planning on starting a new one elsewhere. But if I do start a new blog, it would probably be something that I could use as a “writing sample” if I ever wanted to get a writing job, so it couldn’t be as self-confessional. True, I could write in a journal instead, but I’ve always enjoyed interacting with people online and getting their feedback. Writing is such a solitary activity, and it’s so nice to know that you’re writing for somebody other than yourself.

I don’t have anything much to report about my six-month absence. Nothing particularly exciting has happened. I haven’t been dating although I’ve had a few minor obsessions “from a  distance” with unsuitable men, so, yeah, my issues with men haven’t been completely resolved, that’s for sure. It’s been nearly six months since I got divorced, and I can say confidently that I’m over the divorce, and my ex-husband. I do still think of him from time to time, and feel sad that the shit hit the fan so badly, but, ultimately, I’m incredibly glad we’re no longer together. The relationship was keeping both of us stuck, and miserable. Sometimes it’s hard and lonely being in my mid-thirties and single, but now I have the opportunity to work on myself, and make changes for the better. It’s an exciting time really!

I haven’t been going to SLAA meetings for quite some time. I didn’t feel like I was getting anything out of them really. There were some nice, cool people there but there were also others who were very cliquey, and stand-offish. There are a lot of good things about 12-step groups, but there are also things I don’t like – the rigidity, for one. Nobody ever came out and said directly that not doing things the SLAA way is “bad”, but I distinctly got that vibe. In fact, I had been feeling guilty for not going to meetings anymore, and was worried that “my addict side” had taken over (because that’s what 12-step groups would have you believe if you stop going). It never occurred to me that it’s okay that I don’t like SLAA that much (or perhaps, more accurately, that I don’t like the only women’s group we have here in town). I’m allowed to have an opinion, and not like things, and that doesn’t mean that I’m weak or about to give in to addiction.

Recently I’ve been reading a couple of books by Charlotte Kasl – Women, Sex and Addiction – A Search for Love and Power and Many Roads, One Journey – Moving Beyond the 12 Steps – and I’ve been completely blown away by what she has to say. I would highly recommend that every woman, whether struggling with addiction or not – reads these books. In fact, I would recommend that every man reads her work, too. Contrasted with 12 step programs, Charlotte Kasl’s 16 Steps are life-affirming and empowering. I’ve been so inspired that I’ve even been thinking of starting my own Charlotte Kasl-inspired “Discovery / Un-covery” group because it would be nice to have a support group of women, just not via SLAA.

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D.I.V.O.R.C.E


divorceWell, my divorce was finalized yesterday. It was kinda weird getting divorced because I had to do it in front of all the other people who were getting divorced that morning. I thought there would have been (and would have liked) more privacy, but I guess that’s just how it’s done. Hell, since MM and I eloped, there were way more people at the divorce than the actual wedding! MM didn’t have to be there himself, thank God, since the divorce was uncontested.

The two women who got divorced before me looked so mournful during the whole process. I didn’t want to look mournful so I tried my best to have a feisty air about me. Hmmm, not sure if it worked. Afterwards I went to Whole Foods to grab some breakfast, and ended up crying in the parking lot for about an hour until I got on Facebook, and chatted with a friend who reminded me that MM was a dick.

He wasn’t an out-and-out dick, but, yeah, there were certainly some dickish tendencies, one of which was refusing to get a well-paying job so he could concentrate on his art, but then never finishing any art, so we were constantly broke. When he finally did get a semi-decent job, the first thing he did with his pay check  was go out and get drunk and stoned with a friend, blowing off all the plans we had made to celebrate. When he did that, I trashed his art studio, which, yeah, obviously was very uncool, but that gave him the perfect opportunity to avoid facing up to his own behaviour. Whenever he did something wrong, I would overreact, and then all the focus would be on how mentally unstable and selfish I was. I’m still trying to get over that now. I’m constantly beating myself up about how fucked-up and selfish I am.

But, oh well, whatever, there’s no point now in rehashing everything that he and I did wrong. We were just no good for each other at all. Despite knowing this, I do still get sad because I feel that he didn’t really try to fix things between us. There was never any acknowledgement of what he did wrong. Sometimes I’ll think “Oh, I would have been willing to work on myself if he had been, too”, and then I’ll imagine a different “us” – still an “us” with problems but a couple who are working on them, and learning to grow together. But then I realize that there’s no point in feeling sad about what could have been because the person I want to be with again is not really the person he is, or probably ever will be. It’s just a fantasy.

And, in all honesty, he deserves a person who loves him much more than I ever did. Whenever I re-read the blog posts I wrote about him, or any journal entries, all I ever seem to do is bitch and complain. There’s nothing wrong with that per se if you use that as the impetus to get out of the relationship, but I didn’t. Instead I just stayed and kept on losing more and more love and respect for him, and making sure he knew it. He didn’t deserve that. He deserves somebody who truly appreciates him.

I hope he finds that person one day. I hope we both do. But right now I’m not even sure that anybody could love me.

Free Pass


Free PassI went to see my psychiatrist yesterday, and it turns out that the 20mg of Prozac I had been taking for the last month or so was nowhere near enough. Back then she had given me a second prescription for 40mg, and I was supposed to start taking that after a week of being on the 20mg dosage, but I forgot about that, and just continued taking the 20mg capsules. Oops.

I went home, and immediately took a second 20mg capsule, and I have to say I am feeling so much better today. It could be entirely unrelated, and perhaps it’s just the placebo effect of having the hope that an increased dosage will make me feel better. But who the fuck cares what it is. All I know is that when I woke up this morning, I didn’t have a horrible sinking feeling. I actually wanted to  get out of bed and do things. I actually feel hopeful! All the household chores that I have to do today don’t feel insurmountable. Unpleasant, yes, but not insurmountable.

When I first started meditating again, and going to the Zen center, I had been on Zoloft for a couple of months, and I didn’t think it was working because I was still struggling with a lot of perfectionism-related issues (which may or may not be a symptom of OCD or OCPD). However, I did notice that I was much better disposed towards my fellow human beings. I wasn’t thinking so much in terms of “us” and “them”, or judging other people in a black and white way. I felt more connected to other people, and less inclined to distance myself. At the time, I put this down to my newfound interest in Buddhism and meditation, but, in retrospect, I think the tiny buds of my “spiritual awakening” were only able to grow because I was on the Zoloft.

Now, I’m absolutely not saying that Zoloft (or any other antidepressant) can actually cause somebody to embark on a spiritual path completely out of the blue. What I am saying is that antidepressants can allow depressed people who are already spiritually inclined to find the motivation and energy to explore their spiritual side. Before taking Zoloft I was still interested in spiritual matters, but I would often lose interest after being unable to find a satisfying intellectual answer to certain issues that I would ruminate over obsessively e.g. “How can I put my trust in a God/Higher Power/whatever the fuck you want to call and believe that He/She/It has my best interest at heart when such terrible things happen to other people?!” These questions still interest me, but, right now, I don’t have an obsessive need to analyze them to death in the vain attempt to find an answer. I’m more comfortable with grey areas.

What the fuck has this got to do with the title of this blog post – “Free Pass” – you might ask? Well, yesterday I wrote about how people should stop hating on poor Amy Bouzaglo because she clearly has some serious mental health issues. Xul, who actually managed to drag herself away from watching Game of Thrones, posted this response in the comments section:

As someone who also has parent issues, it’s sometimes hard for me to sympathize with the negative behaviors. I find myself vacillating between the notion that they can’t help the behaviors because they are disordered and the fact that they are willful and deliberate in their actions and can damn well choose to behave the way they do.

I think that there comes a time when you have to make a conscious decision about your life. Yes, I had a screwed up childhood. Yes, I had my own disordered behavior. Yes, I reached the point in my life where I no longer wanted to be that person and I’ve done the introspection and self-work that it took to be better. It’s still a work in progress. It’s hard for me to give a pass to someone else when I’m proof positive that change is possible.

I’ve struggled with such thoughts myself because, like Xul, I grew up with a mother who was a controlling, critical bitch. My mother had an awful childhood, and so, intellectually, I understand why she is the way she is. She’s a victim of child abuse. She’s also a working-class woman who grew up in a time and place where mental health issues were never discussed, and where it would have been taboo for her to acknowledge she had an issue and to seek help, and take medication. Unlike me, she did not have access to the internet and the ability to google non-stop to try to find answers. Unlike me, she is also a mother, and it must be so hard for a mother to admit that her mental health issues made her, at times, that most unsocially-acceptable of all things – A Bad Mother. Because then it’s not just about admitting you have a mental health issue, it’s about having to re-construct your own identity and sense of self. Can you really blame her – or any mother like her – for just burying her head in the sand?

It’s easy for me to have compassion for my mother, though. When you haven’t seen or spoken to somebody for eight years, the jagged edges get worn down, and it’s easier for compassion to grow. I don’t think I would be so understanding if I had to deal with her criticisms and put-downs again . I’m pretty sure I would just react like a hurt child, who doesn’t understand how a person who’s supposed to offer unconditional love can be so fucking cruel.

As I said above, I’m not a mother, so I’ve never been a Bad Mother. But, oh, I have been a Bad Wife, and this is something I also struggle to understand in terms of the “free pass” I’ve been discussing. I don’t think that I’m a “bad” person, but I did a lot of bad things to my ex-husband: hit him; kicked him; spat on him; smashed his things and told him he was a worthless piece of shit. How much of this was “me”, and how much of this was mental illness – and does it even matter at the end of the day when then cause of the harm doesn’t lesson its effects?

Am I trying to let myself off the hook when I mention that I do feel more capable of being calm, rational and loving when taking an antidepressant? Is this just me saying: “It weren’t me, guv. Honest! It was my brain chemistry!”

I do feel terribly sorry for the things I did to MM but, sometimes, honestly it’s really hard to feel remorse when he sends me mean texts telling me that I am “barely human”, “a demon”, ” a fucking monster” and “I’m sad, because you’ll drown in that”. He told me all the time during the relationship that I was a “bad person”, and, even though I don’t blame him for having that reaction, how on earth did this make it possible for me to change? And, you know what, I didn’t want to change then because I was sick of being the crazy one, the “identified patient” who was to blame for everything. Why didn’t he have to change his drinking? Why was it apparently my fault that he’d started drinking more? When he started being violent towards me, and I pointed out that it was only a matter of time before he broke one of my bones, why didn’t he care and why was it me who had “provoked” him? When I told him that he scared me when he got drunk, why did he say that I was such a bully that being drunk was the only time he had the courage to say what he really thought? People have told me that MM was abusive to me, too, and I have a hard time wrapping my head around this because I am deathly afraid of giving myself one of those “free passes”.

When the relationship was over, I felt horrific pain, but there was also this little tiny voice deep inside me that said excitedly “You can change now!”. If I was still married, I would still be stuck in the role of the “bad person” and I don’t think I would now be meditating and interested in finding out more about Buddhism. It’s like there was a terrible hurricane, which stripped all the trees of their leaves, but there’s one tiny bud sprouting hopefully on a branch.

I’m sad, though. Whatever happened to “Until Death Do Us Part”? Maybe the pain I caused was just too much, I get that, but I don’t feel that MM ever wanted to help me change or support me through it. It was me who bought him the book Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Love Has Borderline Personality Disorder. He read it, and his attitude appeared to be “OK, cool. Now off you go and – change!”. He never did any internet research about how to cope with having a partner who was mentally ill. In fact, the only research he ever did appeared to be after the break-up when he “diagnosed” me with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Oh, how things could have been different. We loved each other, and it didn’t need to turn to shit. I could spend a lifetime regretting this, and obsessing over what went wrong. But I’m not going to. I just need to accept that neither one of us was ready or right for the other. He wasn’t “the one” and I wasn’t “the one” for him. It’s that simple.

All I can do is remember that, and work hard to be a better, kinder person in the future. And I don’t think that’s giving myself a free pass.

Is it?

Thirty-Five


I’ve thought for years that 2013 would be my year – the year when everything finally worked out, and I’d be “successful” (whatever that means). I thought this because I was convinced that I would come into my own when I finally turned thirty-five. I’m not sure why I thought this, but I just did.

After the weekend I’ve just had, I would have to be fucking Pollyanna to continue to believe that this is going to be the case. For the last forty-eight hours, I’ve basically lain in bed the whole time, staring at the ceiling, and crying.  I was supposed to go to work yesterday, and today, but I called in sick. I don’t think I’m going to go tomorrow either.

I have done no housework for days, and there is barely a clean dish to make myself any food, so I don’t eat anything or, if I do, it’s cereal. Much to my eternal shame and guilt, I also didn’t feed any of the pets until long after the usual time because I couldn’t rouse myself to get out of bed to do so.

I have no clean clothes, and, in fact, I’ve slept in the ones I’m currently wearing two nights in a row. It goes without saying that I haven’t brushed my teeth or washed my face, and my hair looks like I stuck my finger in an electric socket.

I also haven’t cleaned the litter boxes in days, which is a big, big problem when you have so many cats. What with the terrible stench in the house and my dishevelled, dirty appearance, I am a classic crazy cat lady.

I feel very hopeless, isolated and lonely. I know that I need to get back to meditating, and start working the SLAA steps, but both of these tasks seem so daunting, and time-consuming. I want a quick fix! I know that’s lazy, but I do. Or I want a guarantee that meditating and doing the steps will revolutionize my life. I want the promise of results, goddammit!

I think that part of the reason I’ve stopped meditating and haven’t started working the steps yet is because I am scared to death that they won’t help me. This makes no logical sense whatsoever, but, in some way, it’s comforting not to do anything, as that way I can hold on to the hope that there is something out there that could help me. If I start meditating/working the steps, and they don’t help, then I’ll have nothing. All hope will be gone.

It’s the same way with writing. How much easier it is to sit on the sidelines, bitching about other people I consider less talented than myself who are successful writers than actually getting around to doing any writing myself. It’s comforting to think of myself as a talented writer who “just cannot get started” rather than a “writer manqué” who just doesn’t have it in her to be successful.

I don’t have faith in anything at the moment – not myself and certainly not a Higher Power.

 

Past Perfect


It has been a very hard week. After some more obsessive, hypochondriac googling, I have undiagnosed myself with ADD, and I have decided that I probably have Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) instead. The last time I saw her, my psychiatrist hinted that this might be the case. Procrastination can be caused by ADD, but I think mine is more likely a result of OCPD. I probably also have a bit of comorbid depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder (BPD) thrown into the mix.

Can I just apologize in advance for my obsessive navel-gazing about my mental health? If I was a first-time reader of this blog, I would fucking hate it. There is nothing I dislike more than self-absorbed people waffling on about their mental health issues on a blog or forum. “Get a grip!”, I feel like yelling. “Stop being so fucking self-obsessed!”. But, hey, I guess what we hate most in others is just a projection of what we hate in ourselves.

In my defence, I think I’ve been spending so much time trying to diagnose myself online because I desperately just want to know what the fuck is wrong with me. My psychiatrist has only really committed herself to saying a “mood disorder” which could be anything really. She has also made vague noises about OCPD and BPD, which is great because who wants to think that they have a personality disorder?! That just makes me feel like there is something innately and irredeemably fucked-up about me because, ultimately, how the fuck do you change your personality?!

Maybe you’re wondering why it should matter what the diagnosis is. After all, I’m on an antidepressant (Prozac), and that can help target any number of mental health issues regardless of the official diagnosis. Sure, Prozac might not “cure” me of a personality disorder, but it should help with the comorbid anxiety and depression. I think the reason a diagnosis matters to me is because I’m tired of struggling on alone. I want to find a support group for my specific issue, and a therapist who has training in helping people like me (whatever “me” is). It hasn’t been enough to just go to therapy and talk about my issues. I feel like I need a game plan. I’m drowning, and I just don’t know what the hell to do to save myself.

When it comes to the crunch, all of my suffering comes down to perfectionism. It is ruining my life. There is no doubt about it. I know it is, and yet I am powerless to stop it. That probably sounds overly-dramatic, but I am honestly not kidding. Over the last couple of days, I’ve found myself starting absent-mindedly at the wooden beams supporting the roof on the patio. It occurred to me that I could hang a rope from there and kill myself. Oh, don’t worry, I won’t actually do it but, yes, I do think about suicide because I have reached breaking point. I am so, so, so tired of being me and trying to be perfect.

My perfectionism touches every single aspect of my life, no matter how important or banal. As an example of the banal, let me tell you what happened when I walked into my SLAA women’s meeting today. Nearly everybody was wearing cute summer clothes and sandals. I had been too depressed and disorganized to do any washing, so I turn up wearing the only things that were clean – jeans, a turtleneck and trainers (“sneakers” to you Americans). So what? No big deal, right? Yeah, of course not. But except that this happens:

OhmygodwhyamItoomuchofalosertodothewashing?

Whatkindoflosercantgetittogetherenoughtodothewashing?

WhydontIhavenanycleanclothes?Whatthefuckiswrongwithme?

ImaloserImaloserImaloserImaloserImaloser

Iwantbeautifulsummerclothesandsandals

IwantIwantIwantIwantIwant

ImustbebeautifulImustbetheprettiestImusthavethenicestclothesthenicestsandals

ImustImustImustImustbethemostbeautiful

Imustbeperfect

Whatkindofaloserwastestimethinkingaboutclothesandshoes?!

IamsofuckingshallowImpatheticImstupid

My head is filled with such nonsense all day long. I cannot take it anymore.

As I read more about Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder this week, I learned that people with this disorder often have trouble with relationships. Nah….you don’t say!!! I made life unbearable for MM because I expected perfection from him, too. There were times when I would come home from work, and he wouldn’t have done the dishes, so I would just smash them all on the kitchen floor in a temper because I couldn’t stand the chaos of it all. Oh, I am my mother’s daughter. This is how I grew up. There were no smashed dishes but there were impossible standards of cleanliness to meet, and all hell would break loose if I failed. I was also supposed to be beautiful and smart, and I was. I was. I was. I was. I still am. But it was/is never enough.

I can’t believe that I would put another person through the same hell that my mother put me through. MM wasn’t innocent by any stretch of the imagination (he has his own demons) but there can be no doubt that I was incredibly emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive, and that I broke his spirit. I needed him, and yet I hated him for being too weak to leave me, and I made him pay – for my father’s sins, I guess, of being too weak to protect both himself and me from my mother’s tirades.

Now that he is gone I sometimes miss him dreadfully, which is ironic given that I spent the last half of our relationship plotting my escape. He is understandably angry about some of the things I did in the marriage, but I, in turn, feel angry and betrayed because I-did-not-do-any-of-them-on-purpose! I don’t want a “Get Out of Jail Free” card because I know what I did wrong. I’m not making excuses. But, still, nearly ten months after the break-up, he calls me “a monster”, “evil” and blames me for his drinking, and his abusive treatment of me, which apparently only ever happened because he was “provoked” by me.

I don’t think it’s fair that he blames me for everything but, despite feeling this, I can’t help but obsessively analyze my personality to find evidence that maybe (God forbid!) I am a really bad person, after all. That was what he told me for a large part of the relationship. And I believed and accepted it because, well, I was very, very mean to him, and who else but a bad person would be mean?!

Despite this, I wish he was here to give me a cuddle and tell me that everything will be alright. I wish I had somebody in my life, I wish I had a family. I feel so desperately alone, and, although reaching out to my SLAA sponsor and friends/acquaintances helps, it’s not the same thing. I want somebody there who really cares about me; who would stay with me through thick and thin.

I am so sad that I don’t have that.

Cold Turkey


cold-turkey It wasn’t perhaps the greatest idea to quit taking Zoloft cold-turkey. I had just gotten sick of the way it knocked me out by 7:00 p.m. at night, and of therefore never getting anything done. I tried taking it just before going to bed, instead of in the morning, and this did cut down on the next day’s tiredness. However, it was hard for me to remember to take it a night, and I would often forget, which was really the main reason I stopped it.

I honestly didn’t think it was working, but now it would appear that it probably was. I’m much more irritable, and I’m back to dwelling on things, and over-analyzing them to the point where it affects my self-esteem. Yesterday, for example, I had to deal with MM again because there were some questions I had to ask him about our tax returns even though we had both decided to file separately. I try to have as little contact with him as I can because no matter how civil and polite I try to be, any discussion always deteriorates into him blaming me for everything that went wrong in our relationship and telling me what an awful person I am.

When I was on Zoloft, stuff like that didn’t bother me as much. Rationally, I know that he’s clearly not over me yet, and that this is why he’s lashing out. A major problem in our marriage was that both of us lashed out in anger when the emotion under it was really sadness. But now I can’t help but dwell on all the comments he made about how I’m a bad person. I don’t think I’m a great person, but I would say that I’m not all that bad in the grand scheme of things.

[Note to readers: if any of you ever wanted to give me a compliment but never got around to doing so, now would be the time to do it! Hint! Hint! ]

I was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive in that relationship (something for which I feel very bad now) but this wasn’t something I premeditated. That doesn’t excuse it, but it’s not like I planned to cause him pain. That’s just how I learned to cope with stress, emotions and feelings when I was growing up. And, honestly, MM wasn’t exactly a paragon of virtue himself. He certainly wasn’t above a bit of verbal, emotional and physical abuse and, whenever I asked him about that, he would say that I had “forced” him to act that way. It was the same with his drinking; I got blamed for that, too. He had to drink to “cope” with me and our relationship.

I don’t like to claim that I was victimized in the marriage, but I do think it’s pretty fucking abusive to blame somebody for your own shortcomings. I could see how maybe the poor guy could have been so browbeaten by me that he turned to drink, but, well, that’s a choice. We all have choices.

So, now I”m tying myself up in knots trying to work out whether I’m just a good person who did bad things because that was how she learned to act as a kid, or whether I really am just rotten through and through. On Zoloft, questions like that didn’t seem so important anymore. I was more interested in focusing on the present and the future, than the past.

The one thing I do see clearly, though, is that I am very glad to be out of this marriage. I still care for MM, and before the conversation took a nasty turn last night, I found myself realizing how much I miss him. However, I was stuck in a rut in that relationship. I was the “identified patient”, the “abuser”, the “one with all the issues” and there was just no escaping that role. He needed to think of me as fucked-up because that made it easy for him to sweep his own issues (alcoholism, depression, fear of failure) under the carpet.

Life might not be great now, but at least I can change. I no longer have to be stuck in a role that somebody has given me and won’t allow me to escape from.

My psychiatrist has given me Prozac to try next, so I’ll see how that works out for me. It’s pretty clear that I do need something, though. Over the last few days, I have caught myself thinking about killing myself. By this, I don’t mean that I was actively planning to kill myself. Rather, I would be walking past a tree, for example, and I would realize that I was wondering what my body would look like swinging from the branches if I hung myself; or I’d imagine myself drawing a knife across my throat, or putting a gun to my temple. These almost weren’t even conscious thoughts at all.

At work today, I also felt very disconnected from everybody, and angry. The urge to isolate was strong whereas on Zoloft, I felt more inclined to be social, and look for reasons to like people.

We’ll see how the Prozac goes…

Blind


A few days ago Recovering Love Addict 24 wrote the following:

Something happened yesterday evening which really frustrated me. My bottom lines include not being able to flirt with girls, not asking girls for their numbers etc. But yesterday the first day of my bottom lines and my first day of sobriety I was waiting for a tube to last night’s meeting and a girl approached me on the platform. She was absolutely stunning; tall, slim, dark hair, totally my type. You couldn’t write this as never in my whole time in London has such an attractive girl approached me. She asked if she could stand with me and she tried to make conversation however I remained true to the promises I had made and I told her I was unavailable. Immediately after and for quite a while I was so angry with myself for turning down such an opportunity. A week before I would have jumped on it and totally flirted with her, got her number and pursued her until we had sex. But yesterday I stopped myself. I found myself clouded. First with resentment for god, I was screaming out in my head, “Why are you doing this to me.” Second I was resentful towards myself for not acting out and flirting etc. telling myself I had missed such an amazing opportunity. But then I realised I did the right thing for me. I am not ready for girls. I am not ready for a relationship. I have so much work to do on myself first and I need to concentrate on that.

The interesting thing is that Recovering Love Addict 24’s encounter with this girl might not be as random as you might think. According to the Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous “big book”, there is a “diabolic accuracy” to such “coincidental” meetings which “tended to occur when we were most vulnerable to them” (p110). The book urges SLAA members to accept “the possibility that psychic occurrences can happen, in order to make sense of some of these situations which seemed so uncanny”. (ibid.). On p111, we are told that “perhaps the most important principal here was not to deny to ourselves that we were, indeed, being severely tested”.

I would agree with all of the above based on a random encounter I had on Monday at work with the Arab. You might be thinking “C’mon, girl! You work with the guy. You were bound to bump into him at some point!” Well, this is true, but my company is huge, and we work in entirely separate buildings and, in four months of chatting with him online, I’ve never once seen him – until last week when I was out running, and then this week. Last week’s encounter triggered a new obsession about him, and this week’s sorely tested the resolve I had found over the weekend to ignore him.

I was walking into the main building to grab some lunch in the café when he came out, looking, I might add, every inch my ideal man – tall, dark, handsome and athletic.  This was the first time I’d ever seen him up close, and he really is just so incredibly handsome. I can count on one hand the number of men I’ve found that attractive over all my thirty-odd years on this planet. It was the first time I’d ever heard him speak, too, and his voice was everything I thought it would be – deep, raspy and sexy. He wasn’t exactly in a rush to stop and talk, and I haven’t heard from him at all this week. I haven’t contacted him because, well, princesses don’t beg, goddammit! (although they are apparently allowed to obsess non-stop about douchebags).

It’s for the best he hasn’t been in touch, as every fibre of my being tells me that he’s trouble. I can’t begin to fathom why a man would chase and chase and chase me, and then – poof! – blow me off when I finally agree to go out with him. And despite knowing that I shouldn’t get involved with him, it hurts like hell to feel rejected. Logically, I know the issue is that he’s weird, but I still find myself thinking “What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t he want me? Why hasn’t he contacted me?”

I also feel that I have made myself incredibly vulnerable to this man. I opened up too quickly, and told him far too much personal information – most of it unsolicited (I still haven’t worked out what boundaries are!), but on one memorable occasion he asked me whether I had ever cheated on MM when I knew the marriage was on the rocks. Since the dude barely asked me any questions at all, it was very strange that he asked this one. I was kinda put on the spot, and my idiotic brain actually thought: “Oh my God, the poor dear! He’s probably been cheated on before, and wants to know that I wouldn’t do that! Oh, how he must have suffered!”. My response was half-truth/half-lie, as I mentioned my dalliance with Rebound Guy which began one week before MM and I broke up. I, of course, did not tell him the full extent of what happened. I said it was just “kissing”.

I went round to a colleague’s after work, who happens to be gay, and you can always trust a gay man’s opinion about your love life. When I told him about the Arab’s weird question, he said: “Girl, he just wanted to find out if you were easy. If you’d fucked somebody while married, chances are you’d fuck him even more quickly given that you’re now single”. It depressed the hell out of me to think that all I am to this dude (and all I’ve ever been to a lot of men) is a piece of ass. And the two beers I had drunk at my friend’s house certainly didn’t help my mood. I was incredibly sad by the time I finally left. And, oh, did I mention that I’ve also gone cold-turkey on Zoloft?

I went to the ATM afterwards to pay in some of my ill-gotten gains where, out of the corner of my eye, I could see this skinny, icky, middle-aged white dude. I barely looked at him, but I knew (just knew!) that he was this awful guy I had once fucked when I was still an escort. He is for sure on the list of “Shameful, painful sexual experiences I will never talk about to anybody”. He was putting an envelope into the night deposit, and then he walked to his car, and was about to leave when I pointed at him, and yelled “Hey, you! I know you. Your name’s John!”. I knew I should have let him leave, but the alcohol took away all common sense.

The stupid idiot got out of his car, looking all sheepish and pleased, and came back to the ATM to talk to me. “Yes, that is my name! You look familiar. Do I know you?”. I smiled seductively, and cooed “Yes, you do. Now give me your glasses”. I don’t know what the hell he thought I was doing, but he did actually let me take the glasses, and I walked with them into the parking lot, with him feebly protesting that he was blind without them. I set the timer on my iPhone, and said “You have 60 seconds to remember my name or I’ll smash your glasses”.

He failed the test.

I stomped on his glasses.

And, if this was Hollywood, they would have broken into pieces, and I would have driven off into the sunset to start a new life, and find true love.

But it’s not Hollywood, and they didn’t fucking break. I think I only succeeded in bending them badly.

For someone whose glasses had just been nearly demolished by a deranged, drunk woman in a parking lot, I must say that his reaction was somewhat muted. He said words to the effect of “Well, that wasn’t very nice!”.

“It wasn’t very nice what you did to me either!”, I screamed back, and got into my car and drove off.

I’m sober now, and I actually think this story is kinda humorous, but at the time I felt so depressed, angry and out-of-control. Two guys in one day for whom I’m just a piece of ass. Some forgettable vagina.

I came home, and I just wanted somebody to hug me. But there was nobody. All I got were some text messages from MM, which said that I’m “a demon”, “a fucking monster”, “barely human”.

Some people drink to forget, but when I drink I seem to remember all the bad, nasty, abusive stuff that has happened to me, and I feel like a little girl again – so vulnerable, so in pain. Before meeting the guy at the ATM, I was driving home on the highway and the urge for self-destruction was pretty acute. I was doing 80, and I thought momentarily about just crashing the car on purpose.

Where does all that pain go when I’m not drunk? I feel fine now. I’m sad and lonely but I don’t want to harm myself or other people. Is the pain not real, then? Does the alcohol just create something that’s not really there?