Think on these things

Conversation should be on things, rather than persons- Isaac Watts

People ask how I am doing, and I tell them fine and this is mostly true at the time I say it is.  I live in the moment. I do not really experience the passing of time the way others seem to. I have alluded to this before, and yes, it’s rather strange, and I don’t know what to make of it. It has great advantages and great disadvantages as well, and at 58 I really don’t see how I am to develop some sense of time and its passing out of the void in my consciousnes that others seem to have.

So I am fine.  And then occasionally,seemingly out of nowhere, I am howling in the wilderness of my empty home, or in my van. I have had to pull over because I cannot see for the tears.  Do I miss my husband?  How can you miss an illusion, a mannikin, a human being who never actually existed except in your own imagination? How can you miss gas-lighting, subtle but constant guilt trips (that you thought were the voice of your conscience, but were in fact that voice of an excellent manipulator with no conscience?).  How can you miss forcing yourself to fit into molds that were never yours, listening to the subtle but constant undermining disguised as love and support? Every single personality test we ever took, he would look at me over my results and say, “Aw, that’s okay.  I love you anyway.”  Who does that?

No, I don’t miss him.  I am clearly still angry at all the betrayals and gas-lighting, the lies, the subtle and sucessful undermining me in most relationships, the mask.  Partly this is because they are still coming to the surface, bubbling to the top over time, like the tiny, rotting, dead things they are.

So why the tears? This is a question I’ve been asking myself, and by that question what I mean is merely, what triggers them, not ‘what are you crying about’? I feel like they come from out of nowhere, but maybe they don’t.  Maybe I don’t notice some commonality in the time period just before they ambush me.

And in thinking about that and trying to be more aware of what I’m doing and whe and where before ambushed by those howling, raw, ugly cries, I think they come when I am busy doing some mindless task- scrubbing a sink, peeling vegetables,  staring off into space blankly- and one of those memories comes floating  up and out and I realize anew yet another area or occasion where he was gaslighting, manipulative, dishonest, selfish, yet somehow it was on me.

I decided to try something simple- read more books.  Think more about the plots and characters in those stories as though they are real people I know, and when my mind is wandering during those tasks when I have something somewhat mechanical to do, direct my mind to stories I’ve read and the plots and characters therin.  If I could enter their stories and be part of their lives, what would I do? If we had tea together, what would we discuss?  I can expand that to the authors- how do they tell the best parts of their stories? How do they make that character come alive?  What is most memorable about that character description, that scene?

It’s a distraction, but that’s what I need.


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  1. Dana
    Posted June 25, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    You’re crying because you were gaslighted, manipulated, lied to and betrayed and your life going forward is not as you pictured it. I get that. You have the right to cry and you have the right to distract yourself from the crying in any way you can. You have a right to experience the grief. One day, the crying will stop and you’ll be actually fine instead of in this grief space. I hope soon, for your sake, but take as long as you need.

  2. Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    This is from a picture book called “Tear Soup,”

    For many years the custom of making tear soup had been forgotten. As peoles’ lives became more rushed they found it much easier to pull “soup in a can” from the shelf and heat it on a stove.
    But several years ago Grandy got a taste of a well-seasoned tear soup. One of her friends made it from scratch after her child died.
    As soon as Grandy tasted the rich flavor of that carefully made soup, she promised herself never again to assume that quicker was better.
    Because of her great loss Grandy knew this time her recipe for tear soup would call for a big pot.
    With a big pot she would have plenty of room for all the memories, all the misgivings, all the feelings and all the tears she needed to stew in the pot over time.
    She put her on her apron because she knew it would get messy.
    It seems that grief is never clean. People feel misunderstood, feelings get hurt and wrong assumptions are made all over the place.
    To make matters worse, grief always takes longer to cook than anyone wants it to.

    You’re grieving, it’s good to have those random moments. It’s the death of a dream, a dream that your marriage was all you thought and wanted it to be. Someday those moments will be almost gone, and then one day you’ll be blindsided by tears out of nowhere.
    Hugs and prayers, and thank you for sharing your pain with us. It’s brave.

  3. Sherry Adams
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Dear Common Room,

    I’ve read your blog for a long time now and keep looking in on you when I think you might post. I have been through very nearly , if not the very same thing, what you find yourself in at the moment with your changed life. I know the pain, shame, regret, anger and deep loss; the feeling that your life was nothing more than a made-up Storybook that you and your children lived (and my children did suffer and it took me too long to understand why).

    The regret, the desire to understand how to move forward: what to think; what to do with the loss. The continued Crazy gas-lighting attempts (mine continue after 11 years of divorce due to “adult” daughters who are much like your adult daughter you care or, as well as two adult sons who suffer with their dad’s continued issues: lying, manipulation, attempts to control and sabotage maternal relations ).

    You cannot often get away from Crazy, in my experience, because you still have more contact than other divorced people due to the needs of the adult child/children who are still in need of daily home care, love, support and understanding. Many other divorced people are not often dealing with such complicated, unhealthy boundary issues and gas-lighting type behaviors from an ex spouse or separated spouse. Plus, in my case, there are adult sons with “dad struggles” and need support at times to understand the Crazy. They need healing too.

    Friends leave you. Your story travels in Christian circles. People ask why? What happened? People do not recognize the former “pastor” or former “Christian” husband. You often can not help other people understand the life you and your children lived and the end of that life to destruction. You most certainly can not help friends deal with the “changed” person they are shocked to discover in the former spouse. The “lifestyle” changes that friends may see in the former spouse.

    This type of “Personalty” (sinful behavior) likes others to fawn on them and to think they are wonderful. When that doesn’t go as planned they change their circle of friends and life very quickly. They want control and can not have it, so they move on to new friends, a new hobby, a new organization or religion (Masonic Lodge in my ex-spouse’s situation…after preaching for years about the evils of the Masons). How can you help mutual friends deal with this when you struggle to understand it for yourself.

    The difficulties in placing firm boundaries are real; yet very necessary to do so (boundaries around Crazy). You would think that the other party would move on; yet they continue to crave control and live for ways to get control.

    I know you turn to Christ. Continue to do that! Your Bible and your prayers will sustain you in Christ. Read your books, listen to music, cry, ask questions, look for answers in Christ. You have worth before God in Christ. God will take care of you. He will bring joy to you. Sing hymns! I know you do that too. Start doing something you have always wanted to do but could not do because of your former life. Make time to do it! Force yourself to do it! Begin doing that new adventure in life with baby steps every day. Make a plan. Begin today.

    It is not easy forging a new life. I am fifty now. I had a complete makeover (unwanted to say the least) with my life hitting a dead end in my late thirties to early forties. It was difficult. I had a friend compare my life to Job. It angered me at first because I felt such a sinner. Now I find comfort in those remarks. They were made by someone who lost their family much like I lost mine. I just didn’t know their personal story when the “Job comment” was made. I have a new life. It is a blessed life. God did take care of me. I have survived!

    God has restored years to me; yet I still feel the pain of the loss. How can you not feel the pain when you give your whole being as a wife and a mother to someone for over twenty years who rips you to pieces and continues to find ways to rip long after the divorce. A wife and a mother who stays home and educates her children and tends her home gives it all! She gives it all!

    The guilt of living with your children as they grew up witnessing the Crazy is hard to live with as you age. In my case we had counseling through some of the marriage years that did not help my marriage one iota because of how easy it is to make the problems look like a disrespectful wife. I did not want to be disrespectful and I suffered thinking the problem was mine. I was told how much better it would be if I would change (exact comments of my former spouse). Change what! I wanted my husband to be faithful. I expected faithfulness. I was not going to turn a blind eye to pornography and a mistress, or “casual” friends meeting up after work. I wanted to have a physical and personal relationship with my husband and never could understand the distance. I could never understand the ridicule, the put-downs, the comments about my lack of intellect.

    Please forgive my long “note” with bad grammar. Please forgive the random way in which I have shared my story. It is not easy putting these thoughts down here in this format. I just wanted you to know that I understand.

    I am a fan of your blog. I like you and I will continue to pray for you. I think of you often. I have hope for you. I am rooting for you.

    God bless you! May you know and see God’s grace daily in every daily, mundane, beautiful thing before you. Turn to the beauty that Charlotte Mason wrote about in her writings. Let Miss Mason be your teacher now in this time of your life. All of those years you gave to your children can now come back full circle to meet your needs today. Ask me how I know.

    Your friend in Christ,
    Sherry Adams

    • Headmistress
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Thank-you for all of this! The changing of the circle of friends, yes. I have been shocked (and so have they) at how fast and easy he has dropped all of our longest and closest friends- while he works very, very hard at drawing in and fooling a select smaller group of people based as far as I can tell, on who can do the most for him.

  4. 6 arrows
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of reading as distraction, I recently read the novel “The Girl on the Train,” by Paula Hawkins. Have you heard of or read it? (It was also made into a movie, about a year later, which I haven’t seen.)

    If you haven’t read it (or for any reader here who may be unfamiliar with the story), it’s a murder mystery/thriller told from the viewpoints of 3 women whose lives eventually cross. The book didn’t have chapters, per se, only changes of “scenes” as told by the 3 main characters. It was interesting trying to keep up with what was happening when, because the first time we’re introduced to the third woman, her story starts a year before the other two women’s accounts.

    By the end of the book, the third character’s story has caught up with the others’ accounts, and we already know that someone has gone missing and the body has been found. There are quite a number of characters who you wonder whether s/he is the murderer.

    Fascinating characters throughout, and a plot twist that makes for a stunning ending. A couple of fairly graphic, though brief, descriptions of violence in the book, however, so my recommendation does come with some reservation.

    The questions you asked at the end of your post — imagining talking with the characters, analyzing how the author weaves her story, and so on — made me think of that book. A total escape for me over the course of about a day, day and a half.

    • Headmistress
      Posted June 30, 2020 at 2:11 am | Permalink

      I have not read this. I ‘ll see if I can find it around here.

  5. Carolyn
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    It is no accident that I “happened by” your blog tonight. I’ve also been a hit-‘n-miss reader for years.
    Thank you for your openness and grace to write down in-Black and White-the heaviness of living with memories that come to haunt when you’d least expect it. Sometimes I’ve tried writing down my hurts myself, however it became harder to see it scribbled on the page than just feel and cry.
    Many times “my heart failed me”…….my emotions became my rudder……and my days were unsalvageable. Then I remembered Psalm 73…….
    vs. 17~“Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.”
    and later, vs 26~“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”
    I am still trying to find peace and go on.

    • Headmistress
      Posted July 5, 2020 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      Oh, my heart. I am so sorry. It is an ongoing struggle.

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