Sunday, August 22, 2010

Damsel in Distress

I spent the evening with my friend who is a life coach and she at some stage trotted out this platitude that all men need a damsel in distress to rescue, and all women need a knight in shining armor.

I think the former is true in my experience, if you are a little bit tough or successful (or tougher or more successful than them) many men will seek to weaken you or put you down so they can fulfill that role.

If Neil could hear my internal dialogue now or read my postings about new found independence, and squeamishness about wanting a man in my life at all, he would tell me this is just typical of me because I have to be right. Having lost him, I now seek to justify it, to prove to the world, come what may, that I can survive without him. But he would be gaslighting me.

I feel no sadness about having lost him, only relief. My heart has been broken before, and this is not it. But he would need for me to be sad, to not be coping so he could feel validated, needed..

So I don't doubt that men need to be the knight in shining armor and don't get me wrong I think it can be a beautiful thing. I even think women who play on it and work it to their advantage are quite smart. "Poor silly me, I can't change a car tire!" after all their men want and need to feel strong and dependable, why not let them? I just couldn't do it myself.

So what of the damsel in distress? you're waiting for me to say NO NOT ME NEVER. Following my last post, this wouldn't be a surprise. But I can imagine circumstances where I would love to be swept up, supported, and made to feel safe. When other humans use or abuse me, when I'm in shock after an accident, sick, overburdened or suffering loss. But to expect to have men do work I can perfectly well do myself is, to me, contrived. On the other hand if they don't help in these fundamental situations, but instead replace it with meaningless groping or minimize it that is not good enough. The difference to me is very clear, but for all the men I have met so far this distinction would smack of game-playing.

But in reading back the second paragraph there is a very ugly underbelly to the knight in shining armor and the damsel in learned distress scenario. Namely it fosters learned dependence and if everything or anything should ever go wrong, who is left de-skilled? Not the knight.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Harsh Training

It's very hard bringing a child up on my own, making all my decisions, feeling out of control and having noone to bounce ideas off. But as I finally get it all together and realise that I have done this alone, as I build my own haven, the place where a man would fit closes over.

I really have this strong intuition that if a man came into my life and started offering to carry my bags, open doors for me, grope my tits when I am anxious about work, I may actually choke. To someone used to operating at this level, to make a difference would require so much more...

So all this hardship doesn't train you to be a yielding wife or lover at all. It trains you to be a hard nosed survivor. I feel sorry, but I am changed from being incompletely and unproperly loved all these years.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I feel a bit churlish proposing this, and I don't wish to underplay my other achievements, but I think separating from Neil has been my biggest achievement of the year.

The other night I found a file on my computer entitled "Questions for lawyer" in which I make toothless requests to be compensated for my investment, to be treated fairly regarding my contributions, for transparency in transactions since our split.

It became painfully apparent that there is an underlying truth here. To get separate from that man I had to lose the home that I loved, take a financial hit, ignore his game-playing and, unless I wanted a year of pain and uncertainty over getting the house ready for sale, and selling it in a down market, I also had to accept what HE could afford even if it was below market rate. Not to mention the disruption and expense of moving and storing all my stuff and resettling my son. It has been a monumental effort.

But now the dust has settled, and I contemplate the alternative of still living with him, being undermined, cheated on, gaslighted and made to doubt myself further and further. It has not only been worth it, but a great acheivement. I get a chance to start again and be free.

Monday, August 09, 2010

A strange new place (for me)

I remember back in the old days when friends said to me "I don't want a relationship right now" I did not understand, and simply could not believe them What? you're not searching for ever lasting love? you don't want kids and a family? are you gay? but not out yet? Have you no libido?

I'm not saying I understand it now, or can offer any explanation, but I am now suddenly and inexplicably in that place.

If my libido has not actually disappeared, it is at least in hiding, and I find what I see out there to say the least very unappealing. I was married for 16 years to Simon who was (and is) a rather good looking guy, tall slim, fit, great bone structure, lovely head of naturally blonde hair... Why would I want to even think about making out with some out of shape bald middle aged guy?

I really don't want a domestic relationship for (at least) three reasons

(1) The whole property settlement twice in 5 years thing has left me defensive of my assets - such as they are

(2) I don't want to impose Connor on anyone - he's spoilt and difficult and takes up all my time

(3) I am relishing making it on my own for the time-being as hard as it is

And I don't even know what I do want. Just some social life with the chance to flirt with some nice men, and maybe at sometime in the future very occasional sex with a weekend lover who is good at fixing things.

I know this may all be about me, and my issues with trust, having spent the last four years with a sex addict and then seen first hand how unfaithful a married man can be. Probably I am protecting myself but for now at least it feels like a safe and comfortable place to be.

Sunday, August 01, 2010


I have never confided our recent struggles with the headlice that Connor has been bringing home periodically over the past few months, I've sprayed, and combed and lost myself in a hair conditioning slurry and over the months I confess, I have developed a grudging affection for these little critters.
But I had an epiphany when I saw this in a science bookshop lately. Yes! A cuddly headlouse.
It's the physical manifestation of my codependence....
Yes! anything that invades my life, abuses my trust, sucks my blood, lives off me I immediately develop an attachment to. Works for me.