Day: July 7, 2011

Divorce, American style — day two

A strange mixture of control and events yesterday.  What I didn’t realize is just what the power exchange has been about.  So, this relates to patriarchy and belief systems.  And politics.

Men in American culture are loners in a sense.  They are bonded as friends?  But loners.

I married thinking it was going to be all white picket fence.

This is taken just up the hill from where I live.  I have always liked this style because of the Americana that it reminds me of.  The house had a hedge instead, but same feeling.  Yesterday was a screaming session over money.

I don’t care about the house anymore because my American Dream died when he was laid off in the year 2000.  I’ve been very trusting and stupid the way that many American women are.  For years he decided how things should go financially.

For years I was attached to this house, but I’m not anymore.  I’m not attached to anything we own.  I’m not attached to things we tried to start that didn’t get off the ground.  After our parents died I found out that he set up his inheritance strictly for himself.  For years when I was working at the corporation I had insurance covering him in case anything ever happened to me so that he could keep the house.  What a joke.

The realization now is that he did have a plan and the plan has always been for himself.

Yesterday, after he angrily escalated towards me — because I took some money that is half mine I saw that I need what therapists call “a safety plan” because since the job losses there hasn’t been one.  Period.  Half of two of these places are mine.

I stated that I intended to move to a boat.  I found one I like.  I am beginning to pack.  I said — “You can move to your parent’s house.”

The night before, during the fight he said “no.”

I am tired as hell of having everything be no for so many years.  I am.

I am angry that marriage in America was a joke given the corporate reality in terms of the American Dream and what happened that was so unfair.  Basically he “retired” at 58.  He just stopped.  When I saw what he did?  What was the point of humiliating myself further by having to go in to that newspaper myself?  I lasted seven months.  It was hell.

Yesterday, a tenant paid the rent and part was in cash.  I took the cash.  It was my first independent move in years.  Years and years and years.  He has controlled all the money for years.  For years “we don’t have the money.”

For years when I was working I paid for all the things that made a house “home” if you can call it that.  I want my own home now.

So just like in the movie I showed yesterday, there was a screaming match.  He said “You can’t have that.”  “It’s too much.” — I said “yes I can.”  “Half of what we make is mine.”

He raged and raged.  Then he said “I’m going to open a new bank account in my name.”

This is a very big red flag for me.

Huge.  So, what therapists do is make a safety plan.  In my case that will be calling an attorney.  It’s like I have woken up at last to the reality around here.

I think that the roles were reversed in this era and this marriage.  I was expected to work to build his dream — paying off his property.

My part of the dream was about having a child and a white picket fence.

I said “the house can be sold.”

You have your parent’s house.  He owns it free and clear.

I need a place to live and I need to format my books properly and send them to the literary agent I like best.  I need calm to be a writer.  This is career number four for me.  Over a long lifetime.  I don’t want what we built together.  I’m done here.  I really am.

There wasn’t a white picket fence and this wasn’t a dream marriage.

Each moment I am getting more clarity about what it has been and is.

Each moment I am getting stronger inside myself.  I went to the store yesterday and ate this.  I chose things that were protein.  It’s all I can get down, frankly.  But I was looking at the painting of Tuscany and smiling.  I always wanted to see it for real.  I love Europe.  One of the reasons I liked him when we met was that he had traveled extensively.  I thought we were going to.  We didn’t get that chance.

I will do it myself.

The American Dream has fallen apart.  But that doesn’t mean a person can’t dream up a new future for themselves.  Yesterday I felt strong.  I packed things.  I ate something.  I realized something about how I have been living for 27 years.  I have no plans to live in fear of his temper as a control device.

Just read this on narcissism — a very handy link that describes the behavior I am describing.

Handy article number two, on how to deal with the tactics narcissists pull.

It’s like really waking up for me.  It is, reading the above articles.  The second one is very important in terms of understanding how to cope with what I am experiencing.   The fog is lifting for me.  I have no plans to live with his version of reality.  My reality is my own from now on.  Earlier in the blog I wrote extensively on narcissism and you can search that here — when you are living with it for so many years, and often the first marriage is a repeat of the family system you were used to?  It feels “comfortable,” because that is how you grew up.  Look up my article on “parentified” children here in the web.  I was one of those.  We learn to not have our own needs met early on.  Anyway, making my safety plan as we go.  Yesterday swam at Y.  Women there said, “no more dealing with talking when it comes to him.”  Check.  Plan for today, check in with friends.  Eat.  Make a call.  Pack.