“You’ve been wearing that crown and tearing me down, It’s been a while since you’ve treated me right, You strung me along for far too long ’cause I never gave up the fight, until now” – The Band Perry, Done.
I had no tears to shed or emotions to feel, I was narcotized by everything that happened. I felt so stupid for everything I allowed this asshole of a man to do to me over the course of twenty motherfucking years. I also felt used, betrayed and despite of all of these emotions I still felt nothing. Like a blank piece of paper with nothing to remotely explain why I was in such a state. Terri began to ask me how I felt and I told her all of it, she stared at me and said “Let it go, if you want to cry, cry don’t keep it in.” I looked up at her and said “I can’t, there’s nothing there to let go of. I think I pretty much did that the day of the rental truck incident and the day at the Denny’s parking lot, I feel nothing.”
She sighed (again don’t know if it’s out of habit or what?) and said “Have you accepted that love is no longer a factor here. But as an addict there will be side effects once you do begin to feel.” “Side effects, what side effects?” I said as I stared at her with confusion, I mean I’m not a chemical dependent like a drug addict. She began to explain saying that my side effects would be emotional. She sat back in her pink chair and said “Addicts go through withdrawals, and you will too eventually. Not chemically like a heroin addict but emotionally. You will start to miss the bad relationship, you will miss his presence and you will miss those crumbs of time you said he gave you. It’s inevitable, you will start to go through this and you need to be prepared.” I hadn’t thought about relationship withdrawals and what the fuck are those like? Since I’ve never used drugs all I can explain how I might feel is I’ll have the equivalent to a hangover, or trying to quit eating chocolate croissants. Yes that’s it, a relationship hangover, and I thought I’d be prepared for that.
The first month or so of my last and final separation from Lestat was pretty easy, it went by smoothly and I hardly thought of him at all which made me proud of myself. Then it hit, the stupid relationship addict withdrawals, the cold shakes, the sweats (emotionally) the needing a fix. And by fix I mean driving to work and scanning oncoming traffic for a sign, any sign of his truck. Going to the mall and scanning the crowd for his face. Looking through his kids social media and wanting to see any recent pictures of him. But I knew that, “that” particular fix would end in emotional cutting. Seeing pictures of him with his idiot wife Fiona and his horse faced Stepford children would only send me spiraling down into an all-day pajama, messy hair bun wearing, chocolate croissant eating, laying on the couch, mushy chick flick watching, journal writing depression. I mean there are only so many times your eldest son can say “in your robe all day again ma?” before you throw a Tupperware full of cold moldy cheese tortellini at him and then say “Sorry I thought I was aiming for the trash can.”
The fact that I was aware of this, I knew I had to do something to prevent it from happening. Although I’d slip back into this kind of behavior every so often without even realizing it. Driving to and from work for instance, I mean I could take a different route that didn’t take me past one of his businesses. But it would take me almost fifteen minutes longer to get to work. Yeah that’s the excuse I used for a long time. I told Terri what was happening and she said that I had to fill my time with positive things to do, workout, clean, a book club, go out with friends, clean my back yard and plant that herb garden I’d been talking about. Anything that would fill my time, the time I use to spend with Lestat and catering to his every need. I told her I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to do it, I felt as if this is the one thing I was going to fail at, I mean other than failing at the Titanic of all relationships. Holding onto that big wooden door of dysfunction like Kate Winslet cold, wet and emotionally frozen, watching Leo DeCaprio sink into the abyss of the icy, wet darkness (okay I know, you get the point).
So what did my brilliant therapist do? She gave me charm for my Pandora bracelet in the shape of small silver wings. She said that every time I accomplish another month of relationship sobriety I would get another charm. I mean am I being bribed, or am I actually accomplishing this sobriety thing? It took a while for me to actually, actively stop doing a lot of those annoying things like looking for him in traffic, emotional cutting myself by looking at his kids social media, passing by his favorite bar only to see his Corvette parked outside knowing full well he was only there to pick up whatever barfly he could to get laid because I knew damned well he wasn’t getting laid at home. I had to keep remembering I wasn’t in love with him, I was an addict and it was hard but eventually I stopped, then all I was left with was the vacuum of solace. The deafening silent, solitary life I was forced to live due to a very bad man and his selfish, emotionally draining tendencies.
It’s been almost seven months into my Emotional Vampire sobriety and sometimes I still struggle with blank spaces of time, with chocolate croissant eating, chick flick watching days but not nearly as often. Now I have to find a way to keep busy so that the addict in me won’t fall off the relationship rehab wagon, because I know now all I miss is the misery. I know I’m not in love with him anymore because I don’t worry about him, his health, his well being, his businesses I don’t care. This was something I realized when Terri asked me if I remembered the last time I talked about his illnesses. I told her I didn’t, and then without thinking I said “And I don’t fucking care, that’s what his wife is for” and she smiled at me and said “Now you are over him, when you don’t care about him in any aspect. This is progress.”
I was so use to misery I have no idea what a good healthy relationship is and that alone is a struggle. I wonder if I ever find myself in another relationship, will I, can I handle that? But right now I’m not looking I need time to heal. Terri said I needed to find my bliss and gave me a copy of Joseph Campbell’s book Pathways to Bliss. I’ve read it more than once in order to keep my focus, finding that bliss that only comes with loving yourself. Accepting who you are and all the awesome abilities one has, like realizing that there was nothing and I do mean nothing Lestat could give me that I couldn’t get for myself.
Now THAT is power, finding out you have the capacity to do and get what you want without having to rely on anyone else even if that someone else was the person you thought you wanted to spend the rest of your life with. It’s coming to terms with all that shit, and that’s hard, it takes time and ultimately acceptance of the result. As well as accepting that my actions had a lot to do with how Lestat behaved and treated me. It also made me see Lestat not as a thirty-six year old, tall dark and handsome, 6’1 cowboy. I now saw a middle aged fifty-five year old man, very overweight, thinning hair, double chin and same old plaid shirt, Wrangler, roper wearing man, standing in the Denny’s parking lot grasping for his youth and whatever power he thought he still had over me. Only to realize that this woman who stood in front of him was no longer enamored by his vampire like magic.
This is the strength that I never thought I’d find because I was so in love with this man, the strength of being Myiagied, being ignored, dismissed and taken for granted year after excruciating, heartbreaking year. He and he alone managed to kill the love I once felt. He let the one woman who would have truly loved him unconditionally slip through his greedy, cheating, lying hands. But I can honestly say, he’s too stupid to realize this but that’s okay with me, because I know what I brought to the table. This woman who at one time loved him so deeply I would have died for this selfish bastard.
I still haven’t found Prince Charming or his horse Carlos, he may still exist if only in the myths we keep hidden away in the recesses of our minds. What I do have is hope, that someday I might meet a nice guy (even at my age) and that we might have a fighting chance after my experience with Lestat. Knowing what to do and not to do and maybe not judge him (whoever his is) too harshly based on the experiences of my past. Lestat might still try to contact me, because he’s a narcissist and I truly believe he thinks I will love him until I die, boy would he be surprised. But now he’s an afterthought in my life now, not where he wants to be. The motherfucker still has his wife, his kids, his business and all his assists he didn’t want to lose half of in an imagined divorce that played out in his head, so he can stay right where he’s at. I also realized that karma has been in his life all along. He has to stay in a marriage to woman he doesn’t love (so he says) but only “cares” for. He has to endure waking up next to someone with questionable intelligence and that won’t have sex with him. He has to stay married to someone who will never show any interest in what he does, his businesses or him in general. He will forever have to endure the boring daily routine of “pretending” he’s a happy husband and father, and that is THE ultimate karma in my eyes. All of that is payback for twenty years of what he put me through.
Everything I’ve come to learn about an emotional vampire, co-dependent behavior and dysfunctional relationships is all because I was on the brink of either homicide or destruction of property. I have many friends who saw me through the worst parts of being with Lestat, and I appreciate them greatly. But most of all, I couldn’t have gotten this far along without Terri and her amazing ability to strip away the myopic, rose colored glasses I had worn for twenty years of my life. She allowed me to figure out for myself that Lestat wasn’t who I believed him to be. She didn’t candy coat anything and her brutal honesty was at times hard to take, but she said she couldn’t help me if I didn’t wanted to be helped. That’s when I realized that I needed help in order to break away from Lestat and his emotional manipulation.
She helped me find the inner strength she said I had, but because I allowed Lestat to push it back in order to keep control of my presence in his life. Terri is a godsend, I owe her so much, and yet she says “It’s my job to help those who think there is no help” and I appreciate her helping me. The end of Lestat doesn’t mean the end of Terri, I still have a long way to go but now I can concentrate on other issues in my life now that “the” big issue is gone.
What do I have after twenty years? In the past I would have said nothing, but that simply isn’t true. My brilliant therapist put it to me this way, she said “You were able to overcome becoming a teenaged statistic, you became a mother at sixteen, married a man you weren’t even sure you loved. You married him believing you were doing the right thing for your son. You were able to grow up while raising a son, then having two more in the muck and mire that was a very one sided marriage. You knew you had to leave that marriage no matter how much it was going to hurt your boys, and with that you walked out into the unknown. You found yourself divorced at 28, then met a man you honestly believed loved you and he probably does. But you found yourself in yet another relationship where you gave your entire body and soul, getting very little in return. And in the midst of all of this personal and physical chaos, you managed to educate yourself, you got your Bachelor’s and then your Masters, and finally you found your dream job.
Yes, you filed for bankruptcy to save yourself and what little you had in order for you to build you financial life. You were Myagied by the man you loved, who taught you in the harshest of ways to take care of yourself. Now you have three adult children who are all doing well, because you raised them. You are now in a job you have wanted for a long time, you are financially stable for the first time in your life, all of this and without a man! You have accomplished so much in the thirty-two and half years you were with these two selfish and immature men in your life. And yet you are still standing, you didn’t let anything knock you down because you knew you had to keep going for your boys, for yourself and your sanity. You’re getting ready to buy your own house, you have everything you ever wanted from Lestat, and without realizing you got it all on your very own.”
That’s Terri for you, what an absolute jewel I have in her. Before I began therapy with her, if anyone had asked me what I had after twenty years with Lestat, I would have said I have nothing. But, she made me see that what I have after all these years is a new found sense of self, independence and self-assurance, I don’t depend on anyone for financial stability, security or emotional reassurance. This Cinderella has realized that waiting on Prince Charming and his horse Carlos is time best spent putting on that shiny armor, picking up that sword to cut away all the ties that remain of Lestat. I will ride away on my own horse into the unknown that is my future, and I’m going to do it wearing stilettos because after all, I am FABULOUS!