Getting through it all SOBER

My friend Gina – her husband left her about ten years ago for another man – ugly, ugly situation. Her doctor gave Gina something to “help her relax.”  The drug was Ativan — and he’s had her on it for EIGHT YEARS.

There’s something unconscionable and unethical about putting a patient on an addictive drug for that long.

And did Gina need it in the first place?

Look, of COURSE your nerves are shot — you’ve been living with a QUEEN for how many years? And now you know the insanity you’ve been blaming on yourself (and he’s probably been blaming you for) is because he’s a queen? and the earth is rocking and rolling under your feet and you don’t know which end is up and at any minute you’re absolutely sure you’re going to toss your cookies?

WELL, DUH — of COURSE YOUR NERVES ARE FRAYED. OF COURSE EVERYTHING AROUND YOU IS GOING BATSHIT CRAZY.

IT is — not you.

And so you toss your cookies.  Is it really the worst thing that can happen to you? Personally, I think continuing to live with a psychologically abusive and severely disturbed queen is far, far more undesirable.

Look.  You can take the immediately easy way out and medicate with booze or prescription drugs in order to numb the immediate oh-God-I’m-losing-my-mind feelings.  But I’m telling you, you’ll still have to face the music when you sober back up or the prescription expires.  And if you’re on the junk long enough, you’ll have compounded problems, coming off the crutch AND facing your reality all at one time.

Problem is, the crisis doesn’t go away just because your brain checks out for a while. It will sit and wait for you, however long you try to run away from it.

It’s a LOT easier to grit your teeth and just body-surf through the batshit crazy until you can find some terra firma to plant your feet on.  It takes ten times as much work to pull yourself BACK together as it would have done simply to hang on for dear life in the first place.  Yes, that’s a borrow from Mockingjay — in which book too damn many needles are used to get Katniss and Finnick — to CONTROL THEM instead of healing them. Because, dammit all, it’s so much easier to drug your way through a crisis than it is to have to think and work your way through.  Until you sober up and the emotional upheaval is still right there waiting to say GOTCHA!
Stay sober.  Honestly.

An Open Letter to a Young Woman in Crisis

Dear Friend,

I am friends with your husband through an internet venue, and he’s told me that things are pretty rocky between the two of you right now. He’s also told me a bit about his past, so I feel so many things I wish we could sit down and talk about, you and I.

First of all, I don’t think anyone who hasn’t been through this scenario can even begin to guess what it’s like for us. Parents, siblings, best friends. . . unless they’ve been through and experienced our particular, warped dynamic, they just can’t understand. No matter how much they believe they do.

You’re a bit ahead of the game from most of us, because your husband told you, before you were married, what happened to him when he was younger and what a painful wound that has left in his sense of himself. Still, until you lived with him, you couldn’t be sure . . . also, as you told someone else, you felt coerced into the marriage, regardless.  So you felt cornered, then, and you feel cornered now.

So.  Right now you have two choices: to go, or to stay. Sounds and looks simple, but it’s not. No matter which you choose, you’re facing a frightening set of risks.  Let’s talk about those.

First of all, women do choose to stay with a gay/ssa spouse. Sometimes, it’s easier, especially for older women who are not emotionally up to starting from scratch, after years not having to be self-supporting, or who don’t want to see their families fractured into bits. There’s a bit of safety in hanging on to the hurts and disappointments and the unhappiness we already know, rather than facing the hurts and fears and risks we aren’t sure we can survive.

No one will blame you if you stay.

Also, if you stay, you might have a stabilizing and redemptive effect on Hubby, and that’s not a bad thing.

However, if you stay you are going to have to learn not to play passive-aggressive games with your husband to punish him for not being quite who you wanted him to be.  You’re going to have to take the initiative to grow up, to build a life of your own within the marriage that brings you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  You’re going to have to learn to live your life, not be a passenger being carried where you do or don’t want to go.  You’re going to have to take some risks, and some of your efforts will be disappointing and possibly embarrassing, and you’re just going to have to accept that.

You’re going to have to own your depression and face it and work to master it.  You’re going to need to make choices about independence and self-fullfillment even within the marriage that, so far, you’ve been hiding from making.

If you stay, there are things you will lose.  You will not have the sort of husband you thought you’d one day have; yours has too many scars in too many places, and he has cultural shaping that probably can’t be altered.  You will have to come to accept your husband for who he is, not resent that he’s not who you wanted him to be.  Give your disappointments a proper funeral, mourn them for a day or two, then get over it.  This is your choice, now; you are not a victim of someone else’s choices any longer.

You say you don’t want to have children with a man who has same-sex attraction, so you have opted for a celibate marriage.  You will have to come to terms with that decision, too; it’s a painful one for a woman who’s always dreamed of having a family. Frankly, I think it’s the only responsible choice you can make when you aren’t sure how the ground is going to rumble and roll, next, or what part of your life might possibly collapse around your head. But he’s not happy about it, and he also has rights for marital affection and intimacy — even if it’s only “of a sort.”  You’re going to have to face that conflict head on and there isn’t an easy resolution for it, even using Natural Family Planning diligently. Again, you’re going to have to be an adult, not a dependent.

Of course, many of these issues are going to be with you if you decide to go.

If you go, you can’t just go home and expect your parents to take care of you.  First thing you know, you’ll be finding yourself “coerced” into another marriage, and another man might not have as many good things going for him as DH does now.  Face that.

If you go, you need to prepare sensibly, build yourself up to be self-reliant, and then step out in courage and determination, and deal with things.  You’ll need to face and fight back against your depression.  Granted, SOME of it will probably evaporate when you’re no longer in the ssa-marriage; but some of it will haunt you for the rest of your life and you might as well start learning to get the mastery of it now, before you’re utterly and completely crippled by it.

If you go, you have to own responsibility for making this choice.  It is, after all, your choice.  Don’t blame him – don’t punish him. Simply own your choice as your choice and be done with it.  Because, Dear, face it: under other circumstances, you’d probably like your DH a lot.  There’s a lot about him to like. And to respect. And admire.  So look honestly at who he is and admit you’re going because you want a different sort of life.

No one who has a clue what you’re going through will fault you for going.

And the rest don’t matter. They can take a flying leap.

You’re going to have to be able to grow up enough to be able to say that, by the way, and mean it.  Regardless of your choice.

Dear, you were a child, emotionally, when you went from your parents’ home to your marital home.  You cannot remain a child any longer.  DH has in many ways treated you as a child – I fault him for this, but I fault you for playing into that role.  You’ve both got a lot of growing up to do.

But you can do it, and I want you to know, I am rooting for you. Whatever you choose.

Much love,
E.

Self-analysis – how did this happen?

How did I find myself married to a homosexual? What factors in my own background, my psychological make-up, leave me vulnerable to this choice?

I can claim extreme youth and naivete among my risks.  Back in the day when we were dating and got married, “nice people” just didn’t talk about some things, and homosexuality wasn’t being portrayed and lauded in all our media.  And TFP (The Fairie Prince) wasn’t effiminate; he possessed many masculine qualities.

But there has to have been more, things that blinded me to the warning signs I can recognize now in retrospect.  Was it my relationship with my parents? Personal fears? What drove me into this relationship so relentlessly?

Ineffible Grief

I’m not at all sure what has set it off this time.  I thought it was long since resolved. I thought I’d made peace with my losses, past and future, and with the alternative life I’ve seen stretched out before me.

But something has set it off.  Maybe it was seeing something from my daughter and realizing how badly damaged she is.  The sweet, gentle-spirited, loving girl has grown up to be a crass, defiant, almost-militant woman who, it is obvious, has embraced her daddy’s causes and still can’t get him to take her seriously.

Dear God! How long and how far must the hurt and the wreckage be flung?

It’s bad enough I’m damaged beyond repair. I know I’ll never be able to trust my own judgment about men, or the honesty or integrity of a relationship.  And, yes, I still have periods of grieving for the loss of the old dreams of a close (and large) family. Of love. I still resent having been used, reduced to being less than a person in my own right just so he’d have someone to hide behind. I resent the psychological abuses he inflicted on me so that when I needed help I trusted no one, not even for a long time my own judgment. I resent, still, that he had to be protected at all costs.

Because the cost has proven far too great.

Now that cost involves our children, who didn’t ask to be born, but whom he’s manipulated and used and abused to hide behind, even now.  Nothing is his fault, he will not face his own failures and responsibility – everything is “your choice,” said with a sneer and a look of utter contempt. He will always think of them as he has done of me: as idiots.  Useful idiots, perhaps, but idiots all the same.

And I can’t help my children, even less than I can help myself.  And I don’t know how to climb out of this pit of grief.

Freud and Homosexuality

I’m reading some excerpts here and there — not specifically from Freud himself (yet) but synthesized through others.  An interesting point that I felt worthy of sharing (and inviting discussion) is that one writer, in a post on a NARTH page, asserts that Freud did not see homosexuality as a mental illness, per se, that is, not on the same level of illness as, say, schizophrenia.  Instead, he saw it as more of a developmental disability, an indication of an arrested emotional development, “an intermediary stage between self-love and heterosexuality.”

I don’t know about heterosexuality being a “stage.”  Every little boy I’ve ever known, no matter his age, has been fascinated with women’s breasts.

But the idea of homosexuality being a condition of arrested emotional development intrigues me.  It certainly fits in what I’ve observed in gay behavior, not only my ex-husband’s but others’ as well.

What’s been your experience? Does this resonate with you? or do you think it’s a bit far-fetched?

The Public Bombshell

It’s the stuff of nightmares:  the news flashes a headline, “Local Public Leader Resigns after Criminal Charges . . .” Prominent local figure caught in flagrante delecto in a public park, engaging in homosexual acts.  Local story gets picked up by all the state news agencies (after all, this man has held a very prominent position in his community) complete with all the lacivious details of how police officer observed . . .

But that’s not the worst of it.

The man is married.

Tacky as local news write-ups can be, as sensational and even salacious (after all, the point of journalism is to be read), my compassion is rather thin for the man.  He made some damned bad choices.  He violated public trust of his position in the community.  He engaged in irresponsible as well as immoral behavior in a public place frequented by children. If the law enforcement officer’s account is even remotely accurate, he has been quite practiced in his shenanigans. Let him cope with the loss of his profession and the public humiliation and derision he considered worth less than a half hour’s thrill and excitement with — the other man says he’d never met him before (I don’t quite believe that).  He’ll go to court, the matter will be put off a few times, and ultimately he’ll get a slap on the wrist and a fine of some description.  His punishment will in no way compensate for his betrayal of the public trust.

But there will be no real penalty for the betrayal of honor, dignity, and respect due his wife. She has the public humiliation and the loss of the privacy in which she should have been able to learn and to deal with this crisis.  The common greeting “how are you doing?” will never again be that innocuous thing we carelessly exchange with one another; from now on, those words will be laden with meaning, a reminder, “I know, we all know . . . ”

But do “we all” know?  No.

No one knows what it is like to face the revelation that the husband to whom one has been bound for many years has held one in so little regard; that one’s comfort, security, and peace have been held so cheap.

No one knows the dynamics that have played out in the years preceding this bombshell.  No matter what warm and congenial public face has been put on it, you can be sure that in the private life, the relationship between the two, apart from any sort of audience, has been empty and hollow and miserable.

Her emotions will probably run a huge gamut in the months ahead.  Has he admitted to her that this has been an ongoing, long-term pattern of behavior? Or has he said, “oh, I’ve never done this before, I don’t know why . .. ” —

And if the latter, she will be sorely tempted in the shock of these early days to simply accept without challenge anything he has to say to her.  She may not be able to cognitively weigh out what has happened, she may not be able to consider that a straight man does not engage in homosexual acts, and that her husband was far more familiar with location and behavior than can excuse the one-time plea.

And if she is able to realize that this issue is serious, she will have to make some very hard decisions.  Some women choose to remain with a husband caught in the act; the adjustment to a celibate marriage is easier and less frightening than separation and divorce.  But most women can’t accept that option, and I suspect, once a man has been outed, he would find it very unappealing to go back into the old closet.

No, she’ll have a lot to process and a lot of decisions to make, and even as she makes them she will still find herself feeling as if she’s standing, as one friend puts it, on the epicenter of an earthquake. The decisions, the choices, won’t bring a resolution or peace;  the ground will continue to rock for years.

So my heart is strongly bent toward a woman I didn’t even know existed until about 24 hours ago.  She’s facing a devil of a time.  My own crisis seems rather easy by comparison.

LGBT vitriol

I questioned why the professional community taxed with screening gender reassignment candidates has not been more capable of recognizing the severe dysfunctions operating in the LGBT community, particularly in those lesbian households that are putting little boys on the transgender trainwreck. But perhaps the answer to that lies here:

“. . . the aggression shown by the LGBT community toward people who question whether children should prepare to have their genitals surgically altered and be injected with massive doses of hormones is such that clinicians are terrified to continue searching for the truth.”

The original article is available from the Wall Street Journal, but they demanded I subscribe before I could access the article.  I’m not in the market for a paid subscription of a work I only use a few times a year, rather than daily, cover to cover.

The LGBT community certainly is aggressive, even hostile, in the face of opposition.  Last week I posted a story by Janna Darnelle about her experiences divorcing, or being divorced by, a man who’d decided to come out of the closet.  Later in the week, this article appeared with an update, revealing that, in the aftermath of Janna’s article’s publication, and widespread sharing on the internet, the Gay Mafia has gone berserk with trying to punish her.

I highly recommend Rivka’s update, full of great information and insights such as this one:

“You want to marry a man and you are a man? Society does not owe you women’s children, women’s eggs, or women’s bodies.”

I would add, ” . . . or our hearts and souls.”