04 November 2014

Take Two or thirty or 1000 - Part II

Sandro Botticelli 

When I came home from my perilous midnight walk, one hand on my cell phone and one hand on my keys, Pete was waiting for me.  He apologized and said he'd felt awful about how he treated me.

He was genuine and I appreciated the apology.  I've been trying the last few months NOT to detach. Detaching is so instinctive for me, and I've been resisting it because I believe in vulnerability and I want physical and emotional intimacy in my marriage.  

We left on vacation a few days later and I tried to take a couple opportunities to be affectionate and engaged with Pete.  Then one morning we woke up and things felt off.  Some circumstances of our travel had me emotionally raw, and I think I was still feeling a little fragile from the earlier episode.  The whole day was muddled and we were irritable with each other.  That night when we tried to talk about it Pete started spilling out blame and frustrations about me.  At first I trusted my gut- I knew it was addict talk, I KNEW I should walk away, avoid the bait.  But then I bit. I just thought that somehow I could make him see, if I just found the right words I could prove his "unwellness" to him.  It ended badly.  Doesn't it usually?  I said I felt unsafe and he said 

"I hate it when you say that.  It's not like I've ever hit you." 

But he may as well have.  My head was reeling and my heart was pounding and I triggered badly.  

This time, on the bathroom floor of our hotel room I sobbed and prayed.  

"God- all I know how to do is what I've been learned so far.  All I have is the knowledge I've been given.  If I'm doing it wrong please let me know - But I have to get out of his car."  


I can't quite remember who gets the credit for this analogy- but it's one of my favorites.  

As WoPA we ride along beside our husbands in the car.  He starts to drive like a maniac and we feel afraid, our hearts race and we beg him to slow down, watch the road, act responsibly.  He ignores our pleas, there is anguish in his madness, he is driven by an unseen force.  Then we crash.  The ambulance arrives and he is surrounded by EMTs and officers, willing to help him.  Bruised and bloodied we are ignored.  After he receives support and medical attention he gets back in the car and at last we are noticed! But wait-

"Get back in the car" they say.  "He is better now" they say.  

So I did.  And then I started to notice he was being a bit reckless around the corners, and getting carried away with his speed.  I asked him gently, softly if he should stop, if he needs a break or a deep breath.  I'm ignored and dismissed.  

I don't feel safe anymore.  I know how this ends.


I have to get out of the car.  It might be a lack of courage, a lack of willingness to get bruised and bloodied again, I might be operating out of fear.  But I have to get out.  

At this present moment I am incapable of having a partnership with a man who is incapable of offering me compassion, empathy, trust.  He has great potential, I have seen Pete in recovery and he is a man worthy of the most tender parts of me. But when he is not in recovery or not seeking help, my offerings of love and affection will never be enough to fill his void.  In the throes of his addiction he is a black hole to my endearments and generosity. Sucking, taking, gulping, swallowing, and remaining always unsatisfied.  My vulnerability feels like pearls before swine; unnoticed, unappreciated, trampled.  

There was no apology after our last argument.  I can feel his resentments toward me oozing out his pores.  There is so much anger.  

On the bathroom floor as my breath slowed, I felt God ask me to surrender his son.  So I did.  And I try to each moment, each awkward passing in our home and each empty glance and uncomfortable exchange.  


  1. I am so so sorry that this is your reality right now. I'm glad that you are able to connect with God and feel His quiet guidance through this agonizing process. You are so amazing and brave!

  2. this is really powerful. First of all, I am sorry. Truly truly sorry. your heartache is so raw, and I can only imagine how it must feel to have done all that healing! And now it's like a hard crash and burn and starting all over again. Oh man, it's one thing to gear up and get ready for recovery, and it's another to think - I have done this! How many times will this cycle play out? I am so so sorry.

    Second, I love your car analogy. That makes so much sense! Yeah he never hit you, but emotional trauma is actually far far worse than physical trauma. I love this line - "In the throes of his addiction he is a black hole to my endearments and generosity. Sucking, taking, gulping, swallowing, and remaining always unsatisfied. My vulnerability feels like pearls before swine; unnoticed, unappreciated, trampled." It's like when he is inside his addiction, he just sees you as a faint apparition - like a woman who is a mother to his children. Not like a flesh and bone, beating heart, entire human! And you give so much to him to support him - it's hard to not have untainted affection given back to you.

    "I felt God ask me to surrender his son." SO powerful. The way God trusts us with each other. Trusts us to MARRY someone, and then reliquish a unified relationship with them so that God can play a more active part. I was just thinking - they say marriage is like a triangle right? The partners and God. But those triangles never seem to be perfect in shape. One corner jutting way out - God working heavily on that party to pull them back in.

    Anyway, lots of thoughts. I just wanted you to know that I care. And I read here. And I support you. You've been a strength to me in my most dire times, and I feel like I really owe you. I love you!

  3. Jane, your blog was the first spouse's blog I found, and it has remained my favorite. I followed a link on rowboats and marbles, found your story and read into the night. Your posts are so authentic and your writing is powerful. I have been strengthened by your strength and by your resolve to keep at it and to trust the process of recovery. May God continue to bless you. With His help we can do things we could never do alone.

  4. Thank you. And I am sorry. I have climbed back into that car so many times, wondering about my sanity. I have been working hard on detaching and it is so hard. Thank you for your words.