Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I can feel... One of my turns coming on

Yes. Pink Floyd. From "The Wall." I completely wore out 2 cassette copies of that album when I was a teenager. Incredibly well made album. Brilliant. Depressing. The last time I heard it, I figured out where a lot of my youthful angst and depression came from. It was a part of me. 

That song and song title has been stuck in my head since yesterday. It seems like the closest description to where my mind went. Thanks to another type of entertainment, I had a magnificent flashback. The movie, "Something's gotta give." Watched it for the first time last night. Ended up being a great story, but the road to getting there had some rough spots. It's the story of two people who end up in love, completely against their better judgement. The man is older, with a past of just using women and living free of any relationships. The woman was divorced after 20 years and has become content with her life. Through a long adventure, they end up wanting to be together and both completely in love. On the way, he drags his feet enough for another man to slip in and take her away. 
What I need to explain here is how my brain works. I was diagnosed with ADD and depression about three years ago. Wait. It's better than that. My doctor told me I was a textbook perfect case of adult ADD. She said I had almost every symptom she knew to look for. It's not an excuse or a joke, but it explains a lot about decisions I have made. My wife can tell which days i have taken my medication and when I don't. One of the things my brain does, is identify with certain characters in movies to the point of empathy. I sometimes almost feel like I have taken on part of the role. Yeah. Really. Some characters make me laugh until it hurts, some rip my heart out. Sometimes it takes a while to get my head on straight for a while. 
So. The movie. When the man finally comes to his senses and rushes after her, he is interrupted by the other man. He just steps in beside her, surprised to see him there. My wife made a comment at that point that got me. "He waited too long." At that point, my emotions just snapped. I was overwhelmed with all the pain I felt during our worst days. I remembered the thoughts that I had waited too long to get my act together. I had vivid thoughts of my family being torn from me and another man taking my place. Very vivid. Horror like something Stephen King would imagine. I had to leave the room to get myself composed. Hard to describe, but utterly traumatic. 
Guys, I want you to feel something. Don't worry about being macho. Forget whatever reaction you think your friends might have. It won't matter in the long run what anyone but you and your wife think. Imagine yourself as that guy. You have this relationship with a woman you already decided to spend your life with. You still aren't fully committed. She wants the relationship more than you do. You hold back from her. You won't give in and completely commit to her. You keep flirting and playing around. You are sure that she is all yours whenever you want. So you leave her to herself. Neglect her. Avoid her, maybe. Start to see her as a spare tire you only take out when you need her. How's the imagination going so far. Do you see it? Are you living it?
Now, imagine this. Out of the blue, you find out everyone else knows she is done with you. She has decided to move on. She has her own options. Maybe she figures she would prefer being alone to being with you. Maybe she just can't take any more of your crap. Maybe someone else is pursuing her. Someone else has figured out what a catch she is. Someone else has decided to give her their full attention. She leaves. She has become casual about you. She doesn't care anymore. You aren't even an option to her. She doesn't want to see you, doesn't care if she ever does. She has gone completely apathetic about you and your feelings. She takes your kids away. She starts a new life without you. You get to see your kids with a new father. You get to see your wife with a new husband. You get to sort out your emotions every year at Christmas because you are just the ex-husband. The life you had is gone, you are left on the outside. You have to start over, but you still have connections to the family you lost. Maybe you find someone else, another victim? Maybe the cycle starts over. Trophy wife becomes the ball and chain becomes the ex-wife. Maybe. Maybe not. 
If you have survived a situation like this, you have my deepest sympathy. If you are in the cycle right now, humble yourself and save your family. We didn't go this far. As hard as it was, I held on and still had hope. Kathy Davisson at bestmarriage.com told me the opposite of love isn't hate, it's apathy. When they just don't care anymore. Any emotional involvement, even anger, means there is still hope. Somehow, she didn't make it to apathy. She gave me enough time, not sympathy, to get the changes in motion. It took three years before we started to really become a couple again. This whole scenario was where we were headed. Not maybe, this was the track we were on. 
I had to change. Like almost all wives, mine wanted a relationship with her husband. She didn't expect or demand everything be perfect. She just wanted me as committed to her as she was to me. She wanted me. She just got to a point where she was tired of carrying the weight of holding the whole family together and started considering other options. 
She put up with me being distracted, evasive and abusive for almost twenty years. The last ten of that were awful. She put me through three years of absolute torture. It went from wanting to work it out, to I never want to see you again constantly. She wanted it to work. She wanted to save the family, she just didn't want the same jackass of a husband to do it with. So I changed. I figured out how much I wanted my wife and kids. I had done a lot of damage, it was going to take a while to heal. Still healing. There's still damage to get past. There are still issues we aren't totally free from. But, we are together and conscious of it all. I understand what I have to do and am doing it. 
I can't handle the thought of ever going through that again. I hate the though of any of my friends and family going through any of that. Please listen, guys. Please do the right thing. Please save your family. Everyone gets hurt when dad doesn't do what he should. Whether or not you believe it's all your fault or responsibility, treat it like it is. It's the only way back from here. 

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