Thursday, April 26, 2007

2 year Milestone and Me

I feel very blue. My last post about 2 years on was 7 days ago and I still feel the same. It is something approaching divorce regret. I can't believe my feelings have been so deeply buried for so long it has been 2 years!!

And now I wake up to myself.

I grew up overseas and met my Scottish husband in the UK. I never planned to emigrate. I spent the first 10 years of my married life in wistful regret. My childhood, the family so far away, so many memories I couldn't share. How I envied those who could walk down the high street and bump into an old school friend.

But at least I had him.

We travelled, we saw the world we developed a new history together, and finally we had a baby. It was beautiful. Until it was unbearable. Living with a controlling, grumpy, depressed person wore my down. It was like having another child, nothing I did could make him happy.

Now I have another set of memories to keep to myself.

I write because I love to reflect. I have kept a diary since I was 14. What an irony that I should be forced for my entire adult life to live in the present, to live on the surface with a yearning for a deeper connection with my past.

I even miss my mother in law! There, I've said it.

Now I feel so removed from the things that I love and value (starting with my parents) that nothing bothers me. I am unable to connect with anything at a meaningful level. I just survive.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

2 Year Milestone and my child

2 years post separation and I am finally starting to feel the effects of my marriage breakdown. Chiefly through the lens of my son. By allowing the separation to occur I robbed him of many aspects of his future, and made his childhood more difficult. It is not that I did not consider him. Things moved too fast, my ex pulled the plug and I was left barely keeping my head above water and very numb.

Connor is starting to try to understand why Mum and Dad live in separate houses, and starting to notice that whilst it may be normal for him (he has really known no different) it is not normal for his friends.

There was no point "staying together for the kids" at least that is the conventional wisdom, and at the end that is all we had. We had weathered many a bad patch, but this was much more fundamental. And friends and counsellors assured me that kids are happier when their parents are happier.

So what did I do? move from one unhappy marriage to another. This one is just unhappy in a different way. Now have the bizarre inclination to stay in this one for the kids even though he is not his kid.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I wake most mornings at 5am and lie there for an hour or so worrying. The topic of today's worry was the effect on my son of being raised (partially) by my current partner. There are a lot of things about his dad that I really liked. We had a lot of shared values about the big things like faith, honesty, integrity and love, the medium things like diet and exercise, and the mundane like table manners and etiquette. When we separated, the one thing we could agree on was to do our best to raise him together, and to make him our priority. It seemed simple at the time. Life had become unbearable together, we could not give each other what we were looking for, and we would go it alone. (As you know no sooner than the 'ink was dry' on our verbal agreement, he made a priority of dating, and I made a priority of working full time and looking after a toddler, getting some sleep and not going mad. Connor's dad was too sick to take a major part in his upbringing at that point - but that's another story).

Soon I realised how alone I truly was, and how I had next to no support, my family live far away, and all my friends were very transient. Some helped me out by picking connor up from daycare, occasional babysitting, but one by one they all moved on.

Then I met my new love. He was a breath of fresh air, he was relaxed, successful, enjoyed food, and most of all loved me, and cared for my son. His values seemed good, very different, but good.

The focus of his values are; The big ones; work hard, give back to society, and look out for yourself and your family, because nobody else will. The medium sized ones; there is no need to feel guilty about anything you do as long as it is not illegal and nobody gets hurt, life's too short for boring stuff like exercise, religion causes wars. What's the point in wasting time on fancy recipes, cook-in sauces/ takeaways save time and do the job - food in belly. The small ones; no need to be prudish about farting or belching in your own home, let it out.. be it at the table, in front of the TV wherever, what's the harm in eating ice cream straight out of the tub then putting it back in the freezer when you've had enough? - lighten up.

A slightly more incidious one is playful lying. Through his games he has taught connor all the basics of good lying:

(1) Denial - me eating sweeties? No!
(2)Just say no - I have no idea where that sweetie packet came from no, nada, not me
(3)Offence - don't accuse me of eating sweeties!!! I was just eating a carrot
(4) Accuse someone else of lying - you must've eaten the sweeties
(5) Gas lighting - I think you're imagining that you had sweeties
(6) Collusion - don't tell mummy

Now maybe all 4 year olds lie, and playful sharing/hiding of candy is fairly harmless, but in my predawn worries I saw this as a workhop/test bed for the bigger kind of lies my partner carries off so effortlessly. Connor should never lie, and there should be nothing he can't tell mummy about. Though his father may be a improvident, ineffectual and self obsessed, he would never cheat, lie, disrespect other's beliefs, morals or personal space, or cross the boundaries of good taste.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Short cuts

I was at a kid's birthday party at the weekend, observing how all the SAHM's manage their kids - for good or bad, these gals have had 100% input into how their kids are shaped, and as far as I could see it was mostly for the good. By 4 you start to be able to see the effects of discipline, routine and good nutrition and (sigh) a stable home environment. I noticed their kids listening to what their mothers said, minding their Ps and Qs and going into time out without a fight if things got bad. My son on the other hand, talked his way out of every problem with increasingly eloquent explanations, leant across the table to get what he wanted, and was very territorial. I had a wake up call. I have not had 100% hand in his upbringing, in a fortnight he spends roughly 35% of his waking hours with dad, 41% with me and 24% at preschool. So I have really passed over a lot of his upbringing to others.

When we separated, the situation was so dire, I somehow imagined I would get custody and would be tucking him in every night. My husband ejected himself from the marriage and spun off uncontrollably, he was unwell, and he focussed his efforts in the early weeks and months on finding someone else. This I assume was his (possibly subconscious) shortcut to getting himself back on his feet. His new girlfriend attended to his support (emotional, physical and financial) then he set his mind to getting joint custody - or as near as he could.

Meanwhile I found a shortcut of my own. I wanted a house and family (something like my family of origin) whilst I still could, I went for what I thought was a safe bet, the first man I fancied, who wanted these two things as well and was able to help me attain them. He was bright, he was funny, and he had helluva lot of baggage.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The girl that was me

My parents gave me a good start in life, and I was a hard-working, clean, ambitious little girl. I did my piano practice, went to church twice on Sundays and did my best in pretty much everything I tried. There were no ugly violent outbursts in my home, no desertions, we were not itinerant - staying in the same town for my whole childhood. My parents loved and were faithful to each other. I had my fair share of teenaged angst, but life was safe, life was secure and predictable. I had reliable friends who I still keep in touch with to this day, although they are far away. I could talk to my mother, who would sit me down for long girly chats over a cup of tea after school. My father's high expectations of me, a burden at the time, probably projected me into the enviable position I am in my career today. So how did I become this confused, disenfranchised, co-dependant jelly? Perhaps because this gentle upbringing did nothing to prepare me for the seamier side of life into which I (and regretably my beautiful son) have now plunged? Fifteen years of marriage served only to freeze me in my schoolgirl innocence, and I emerge a sort of post marital rip-van-winkle, ill equipped to deal with the harsh realities of the world. I treasure that girl, and I don't want to let her down.

Photo courtesy of belfast high school

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Mess with my head II

Since I have been with Neil, apart from the obvious "don't falsely accuse me" followed by discovery of at least one affair (I say at least one because he then realised he had an SA) one woman doesn't make a SA. Life has been tumultuous.

Then there was the STD scare. I went overseas for a month and a half - came back with peculiar symptoms "down there" and I knew for a fact I had only slept with him - Still he suggested I had caught it elsewhere and that he struggled, and yet was benevolent enough to give me the benefit of the doubt - ha ha

There were of course a number of lies associated with the infidelity, which are hard to expunge, usually cast back on me

"listen, I turn off my phone because I don't want your snooping to come in the way of our relationship - an innocent mistake could ruin everything we've got".

"Could you leave the car at work, and get public transport home, its so hard to get decent public transport when I'm working late" - sure did need that car to drive to another suburb late at night

"I've been run off my feet all morning" (once again with the phone switched off) - sure was "off his feet"

"Its all about you isn't it? it's your way or the highway! Why do you always get like this when we have a big decision to make (buying the house) You are hormonal

Hormonal, hmm quite likely, I have been having fertility treatment lately, however even I can't see an excuse for what happened yesterday, I got mad about a series of sms he seems to be getting from a woman (the ones I have seen are x rated) so I took a look at his phone.

When I would not give it back he knocked me over to get it back. His story now is that I slipped. But I'm pretty sure I know the difference between slipping and being chucked to the ground - I am quite a sturdy girl (145lbs) but how I experienced it was this. An approach by him, being lifted off the ground ( or possibly having my feet knocked from under me) , a period of stillness (airborne?) and then "Whooomf" hit the wooden floor with elbow and head simultaneously. When one slips one normally puts out a hand and does not land on one's head.

I was quite livid and went to the ER immediately, it was a 15 mile ride so I had to stop for a cry by the side of the road frequently, I was (once again) in utter shock.

Later in the day I call him and he says I'd better not tell anyone because that would be libel (in fact I only told the professional counselling staff) further, had I told the hospital about the drugs (hormones) I was on? And all the time "What on earth is wrong with you Fiona? why are you behaving this way?" Also he implied that he would not report me for hitting him - I have no idea how this happened but there was a graze on his chest after the altercation.

For some reason once again I came home, locked myself in my room and slept all day and all night, I have not discussed it with him, and to be honest I am frightened. He has been uncharacteristically kind.

He is quite effectively managing to convince me that a) I am hormonal b) no assault took place and if I label it as such I am lying c) this is my problem.

A pattern emerges of everything being blamed on me, his conscience is alarmingly clear about everything (he is very happy in this relationship - whilst my life is tumult, he is very happy and relaxed - a sign of my mental instability of course!!). Even the infidelity - Fiona, take your blinkers off!!! it is remarkably common!!! 1 in 4 kids are not genetically their father's. It is not against the law!!!

I have (in my fog) managed to work out why I stay, I love my house and I dream of a home and a larger family, but who in their right mind would pursue it with this man???? He professes to love me, but what is this? I am aware of my faults, often hormones do make me grumpy and sometimes I get angry and lash out, but I still can't help thinking that a line has been crossed.

It is utterly disrespectful to sleep with other women, addiction or not, and to maintain feisty sexual email contact with others, and culpable though I may be in many ways, it is utterly wrong and disrespectful to throw someone you love on the floor.