Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I told my kids...

Ex's past drug use was always a secret I never intended to divulge to our kids.  He'd promised me that it was in the past and that he'd never use again.  I believed him.  Now that it appears he might be using...or might just be mentally unbalanced...I was encouraged by multiple people to share the information with the kids.  The biggest fear was that the kids would be shocked and unprepared if their dad should OD.

Telling the kids felt like a betrayal.  I'd never promised Ex that I wouldn't tell, but it was an unsaid agreement that it was his secret to tell.  The kids had no response.  I don't know what I expected from my three introverted progeny but what I got was silence.  My youngest had facial expressions...shock and dismay.  I sometimes wish I could be a fly on the wall when they talk to their friends.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I Believed an Addict

When Ex and I first met we were just 16 and 17 (did you hear that song from Sound of Music?  I did) we both started working at Chuck E. Cheese, it was my first regular job.  A few months in, I was working with him in the dining room and as we did our rounds we'd talk.  He admitted that he'd had a drug problem but that had all changed after he went on a ski trip with his sister's church.  He said he saw Jesus standing there on the stage next to the person talking.  After that he decided to give up drugs forever.   I believed him.

Well forever didn't last very long.  He went ice skating with his brother and while trying to execute a spin he fell and knocked out his two front teeth.  He went to the dentist and his teeth were cemented back in.  The pain got to be too much for him so he went back to smoking pot to combat the pain.  In the early years of dating I was very VERY naive.  I had no idea what pot smelled like.  I didn't recognize that when he kept saying his eyes were red from being in the sun, he was lying.  I believed him.

He eventually was afraid that someone would tell me that he was using again (duh, he'd chased one of my friends down and asked if she knew where he could get some mushrooms) so he told me that he'd smoked for a little while because of the pain in his teeth, but that he'd stopped.  I believed him.

We went ahead and got married and various friends kept asking me if I thought he was using again and I denied them all.  I denied them, and forgot the interactions entirely.  It is amazing how flexible your brain can be when you don't want to see the truth.  For our fifth anniversary we went to Las Vegas and I walked in on him in our room, hanging out the window, waving away the smoke.  He told me it was just a cigarette.  I let myself believe him.

I let myself believe until he got paranoid.  I remember sitting in bed when he shushed me.  I asked why?  He pointed to several places on the ceiling and said "They might be listening."  I asked who?  He just shook his head and looked at me knowingly.

I'd had enough.  He was only working maybe 20 hours a week and using the rest of the time to skateboard and smoke.  I was working full time and I wanted to go back to college.  I finally decided I'd had enough and I moved out.  I was a chicken, moved my stuff out of the apartment when he wasn't home and left him a note.  He came home and called me at my parent's house (he knew I'd be there) he hadn't even seen the note but he thought we'd been robbed.

I told him I left him and why.  Over the next month he threw away all of his paraphernalia and swore he'd stop and he'd go to marriage counseling with me.  I believed him.

By the time an opening came up for an evening appointment for marriage counseling...he decided we didn't really need it.  I should've refused to move back to our apartment until he went to counseling...hindsight.

Many years passed, I graduated from college, I had three babies, he worked full time, things seemed pretty good.  Our house was too small and in the housing boom of the early 2000s there was no possibility of us affording a place that would fit our family in the bay area of California.  We decided to look elsewhere and I fell in love with the Eugene area of Oregon.  We bought a house and the kids and I moved.  He swore he'd join us once he found a job in the area.  I believed him.

It took ten years and a threat to get him to move here.

I'm reasonably certain that during those ten years he was using drugs at least occasionally.  I KNOW he used alcohol to excess.  Like finish a bottle of tequila in just one or two days, heavy use.  He swore it was just to help him sleep.  The guy insisted he had a sleeping problem.  Once I was trying to go back to sleep after his snoring woke me.  He suddenly stopped snoring, got up and went to the bathroom to take a sleeping pill because he "hadn't slept a wink all night."  I asked him if he was using a chain saw in our bed.  He didn't find it funny.  I didn't believe him.

He also abused prescription drugs.  I often found prescription bottles with names I didn't recognize.  He'd get mad at me if I threw any of them away, even if they were long expired or something like three antibiotics left of a prescription which wouldn't do anyone any good.  Every time I took a pill, be it an aspirin, a decongestant or a Midol, he'd put his hand out for one.  Sometimes he'd say "just in case."  I'd get mad at what I saw as wasteful without ever recognizing it as addictive behavior.  I'd stopped believing him.

Now his emails to me are disjointed and hard to follow.  He insists his family is "having meetings to put me in prison."  That was because I told him that since his mom hadn't heard from him since November she wanted to file a missing persons report on him.  He is paranoid again.  I'm sure he is on drugs again, if he ever stopped.  I'm worried that he is self destructive and without me sees no reason to stay away from the drugs.  I don't feel that I'm responsible for his actions, he is an adult and he does whatever he does by his own choice.  However, his choices effect our children.  They haven't seen him since early December.  Now I'm afraid to let them see him.  I don't know what kind of shape he is in.

I can't believe that I'm one of "those" ex-wives.  The ex-wife of an addict.  I'll never be able to believe him again.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mixed Feelings

While I feel that divorcing Ex was absolutely the best choice, there are still times when my emotions get the better of me.  Today is one of those times.  After weeks of little to no communication from Ex he suddenly started emailing me.  His written communication has always been difficult to read, understand, and follow.  These were particularly bad.  I'm starting to realize just how mentally ill he really is.  He hasn't called nor contacted anyone in his family.  His mom is understandably worried.

His sister and my sister work at a bank together.  I've been passing information to his family via that network...yes...I am a weasel, why do you ask?  My sister asked if they should file a missing persons report on him.  I told them when I'd last gotten an email from him.  I then emailed him and told him to call his mom or she was going to contact the police to file a missing persons report.  As far as I knew my email had no effect.

Yesterday he sent me six emails.  Part of it had to do with finding a renter for our old house.  Part of it had to do with his rants about his family trying to put him in prison.  "Why" I asked "do you think your family is trying to put you in prison?"  After much back and forth I realized it was because of what I'd told him about the missing persons report.

Part of me still wants to fix it...as I did for our entire 28 year marriage.  I wanted to go to him, reassure him and call his mom and make him talk to her.  I feel badly for the state he is in.  I want him to be "normal" again.

Another part of me wants to run away as fast as I can.  I remember that he looks like a homeless person, that he isn't bathing, and that just having him near grosses me out.  I often wondered why someone who was so paranoid would drive around a car that looked like he was living in it.  Why he'd engage in behaviors that caught police attention.  He was patted down multiple times and his car searched for drugs.  I've never had that happen and it never happened to him when I was around.  I lent an air of normalcy to him when we were together that he couldn't maintain when he was alone.

He never cared about anyone's appearance,  He never cared about the state of anyone's home.  He judged no one.  I liked that about him.  However he thought that everyone was like him and that his own appearance and the appearance of his home would matter to no one.

One of the worst things for me was that multiple times we got letters from the city or county about the state of our home.  It drove me nuts since it was always the piles of junk he had everywhere on our property that caused the complaints.  The worst thing was that the letters would increase his paranoia that "they" were out to get us.  Not once did any of our neighbors ever ask "Hey, do you plan on cleaning this up?"  If just one of them had come to him just once and let him know that the piles were not okay it would have made him aware of the social contract he was crossing.  Because not one of them was willing to ask him to clean it up face to face he didn't believe me when I told him how much they hated it.  He called me a liar.

I want to fix things but I know that this is beyond my capability.  I don't have the knowledge or training to deal with mental illness.  I've contacted a lawyer and have started the divorce ball rolling.  The separation needs to be complete because I cannot fix this.

Monday, February 2, 2015

If Only...

I've been dreaming a lot about Ex.  Not the Ex that I left, but a better, more perfect version of him.  I'm thinking of the person I wanted him to be and wished he could be.  When I told him I was leaving he said he'd change.  It had happened before, and he did change for awhile, but he always reverted back to his true self.  I told him that I knew that he couldn't sustain it and that I didn't want him to try.  He deserves somone who is happy with him as he is.

It is easier to stay, far far easier to just continue on in the same path if there are no outright dangers or abuse.  Leaving is hard...the mind wants to go back to the familiar.  My dreams are a sign of that.  I'm trying to create a list of the "perfect" man, the man to fulfill all of my needs.  I've been told to visualize what I want.  I did that with the place I'm living in now and it worked perfectly.  I need to do it with my job again because I might be heading for a layoff and I don't want to be jobless.

But a person?  Can I really visualize a person into my life?  If I do how do I go about that?  What do I wish for?  I've been told they all have to be positive, so I can wish for a nice dresser, but not wish for someone who is not a sloppy dresser.  What positive traits do I want this time around?

Yesterday was Ex;s birthday.  I had such mixed feelings.  I'm pretty sure he was alone and I feel badly about that, however, he did bring it on himself.  The kids would've been willing to spend at least part of the day with him if he'd only contacted them.  He chose not to.  As far as I know he hasn't contacted his family either.  I don't understand how he can refuse to contact his own family and let them know he is okay.  If anyone had asked me at any point in our marriage what was the most important thing to Ex I would've said "Family."  Funny how you can be married to someone for 28 years and not know them at all.